Guidelines for collection of power data: Limitations and possibilities

By Mari Kristine Buckholm, Smart Innovation Norway 30. January 2018

Today, methods for collecting national power data is an important topic. It is done differently in different countries. What is the best solution – and how is this relevant to INVADE?

Three of the project’s researchers have explored these questions in each of their countries. One of them is Christian Kunze at Smart Innovation Norway.

“In my opinion, societal transparency is less developed in Germany compared to the Nordics. Therefore, data privacy in terms of electricity consumption has a much higher relevance in Germany compared to Norway”, says Kunze.

Privacy guarantee

He explains that the Federal Office for Security in Information Technology has developed a smart meter gateway concept to guarantee data privacy.

“Companies that collect smart meter data are obliged to implement the related processes and standards (see figure below) and become smart meter gateway (SMGW) administrators”.

The illustration shows that in the Wide Area Network (WAN), the SMGW communicates with the external market participants and, in particular, with the SMGW administrator.

In the Local Metrological Network (LMN), the SMGW communicates with the connected meters (electricity, gas, water, heat) of one or more final consumers. The meters communicate their measured values ​​via the LMN to the SMGW.

“In the home area network (HAN) of the ultimate consumer, the SMGW communicates with the controllable energy consumers or energy producers. For example, smart household appliances, combined heat and power or photovoltaic systems. Furthermore, the SMGW provides data for the final consumer or for the service technician in the HAN”, notes Kunze.


All communication flows are encrypted and secured in terms of integrity, authenticity and confidentiality.

“For this purpose, the SMGW uses a so-called security module, which on the one hand serves as secure storage for the cryptographic key material required for encryption. Secondly, it provides the cryptographic core routines for signature creation and verification, key generation, key negotiation and random number generation for the SMGW”, he emphasizes.

Limitations for INVADE?

Kunze believes the outlined concept is solid and should remain in place.

“Customers with less data privacy concerns always have the opportunity to give written consent and let a service provider or aggregator meter use their data”, he points out.

According to Kunze, the topic is important as it creates trust for new concepts on electricity markets.

“In terms of the INVADE project the relevance is at least twofold. On the one hand, INVADE needs to guarantee that its results comply with national data security regulation in pilot and future roll-out countries. On the other hand, there is always a small grade between justified security and privacy concerns of electricity consumers and limitations for the development and implementation of technological solutions that result from the regulation. Therefore, regulation might limit technological potential”, states Kunze.

Pol Olivella-Rosell. UPC-CITCEA

DSOs in charge

UPC-CITCEA’s Pol Olivella-Rosell reveals that the Spanish regulator has made all DSOs responsible for the metering infrastructure, including its installation, operation and maintenance.

“This is a regulated activity and the DSO is rewarded for it. The hourly metered values are transferred through the metering system until a data base that verifies the obtained values. Metering values are sent to retailers to process their customer’s electricity bills”, explains Olivella-Rosell.

“DSO platforms should be in charge of and they should provide information from smart meters to third parties every hour approximately”, he says.

Important INVADE guidelines

Arjan Wargers of the Dutch company ElaadNL clarifies why data collection guidelines will be an important issue in INVADE:

“The combination of consumption data and asset data is necessary to assess the available capacity and to develop the right flexibility services. The development of these services must be done in co-creation between the DSO and market parties developing these flexibility services”.

Wargers makes the distinction between consumption data and asset data. Consumption data is the anonymous energy consumption of small-scale connections.

“For gas, this is a connection up to and including a capacity of 40 m3 / h and for electricity up to, and including, a capacity of 3×80 amperes. The file also provides information about the number of smart meters that has been placed per postcode at the time of compiling this data”, he explains.

Open data to stimulate innovation

Asset data is defined as all above-ground and underground assets. The company Enexis, which installs, maintains, develops, and operates distribution grids for electricity and gas in the Netherlands, makes various types of data available for general use and makes them accessible to everyone.

“We do this to stimulate innovation and to contribute to a sustainable society. You can use the public information, for example, to develop new products or services, possibly combined with data from other parties”, notes Wargers. He adds:

“From the privacy point of view, it is not permitted to provide insight into personal data. That is why all information is anonymous.”

There are no costs associated with the use of open data. Everyone is free to use it.

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