NDP to introduce bill for smart grid cyber security and privacy

Ontario NDP Energy Critic Peter Tabuns will introduce a bill next week to require the Liberal government to set and enforce standards for cyber security and privacy protection for Ontario’s smart grid.

“Ontario families need to feel safe. They need to know that their security is being upheld and their privacy is protected.  By adopting this bill, the government can assure Ontarians that it is protecting the electricity grid that we all depend on,” said Tabuns. 

Experience in other jurisdictions shows that a lack of security can be expensive for ratepayers and can threaten the grid. Hacking of smart meters in Puerto Rico in 2010 resulted in a loss projected to grow to  $400 million annually to the utility that had deployed the meters. An FBI report that was subsequently leaked to the media stated that the potential was high to see more of this fraud spread as smart meters became more common. 

”Ontario doesn’t appear to have what’s needed to protect smart meter related cyber security and privacy,” said Tabuns, “we need standards and enforcement to ensure that both our electricity system and our privacy are protected”. 

Last year the BBC reported on findings in Spain that hackers could use the smart meters as a portal to disrupt the electrical grid. The Auditor General in her recent report on smart meters noted that 85 per cent of local electricity distribution companies had not completed the most basic step for protection of privacy, a Privacy Impact Assessment. One of her recommendations called for improvements in the data-security of smart meters.