Since it became known that all households are to be equipped with digital electricity meters in the future, there have been heated discussions. Now even a court had to decide. The verdict could please many consumers.
The North Rhine-Westphalian Higher Administrative Court in Münster has stopped an obligation to install intelligent electricity meters for the time being. According to the OVG, an order from the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) based in Bonn is likely to be illegal, as the court announced on Friday. The decision was made in an urgent procedure. The main proceedings are still pending at the Cologne Administrative Court (Ref .: 21 B 1162/20, 9 L 663/20, VG Cologne).
What are smart meters used for?
Smart electricity meters are an important component in energy policy in Germany. This means that not only the meter readings can be automatically digitally and encrypted for the power generator. It is also conceivable to control the power consumption depending on the supply situation. According to the statutory provisions on the energy transition, all analog electricity meters are to be replaced by digital electricity meters by 2032. For this, the new type of electricity meter must be licensed by the BSI so that hackers cannot paralyze the power supply via the networked meters.
What was the case about?
Nationwide, the licensing decision from Bonn that was necessary for the start of the smart meter rollout triggered the obligation to install measuring points from certain manufacturers. A company from Aachen had sued against this and was given a right before the OVG. The company sells other measuring systems and would have stayed with these products.
The BSI was surprised by the decision. The main decision is still pending. “The BSI will therefore examine the reasons for the decision of the OVG in detail and hopes to be able to fully refute the concerns of the OVG in the main proceedings,” said a spokeswoman.
The OVG is of the opinion that the intelligent measuring systems available on the market do not meet the legal requirements. They have not been certified as prescribed for the applicable requirements for technical cooperation with other systems. “These measurement systems could also not be certified because they did not meet the interoperability requirements.”
“The BSI’s competence to change technical guidelines in line with technical progress does not go so far as to fall below the legally stipulated minimum requirements. If the minimum requirements there cannot be met, the legislature must take action,” it says in support of the statement. Around 50 comparable complaints from metering point operators, including several municipal utilities, are still pending at the OVG in Münster.