The legal complexities of processing and protecting personal data in the electricity sector

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2 Citations (Scopus)


The use of smart meters enables the emergence of innovations in the electricity sector, such as smart grids, prosumers and Peer-to-Peer trading, which can play an important role in realizing the energy transition. These developments rely on the processing of personal data, triggering the application of data protection legislation in addition to the legislation organizing the electricity markets. This article examines the interaction between the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Directive (EU) 2019/944 on common rules for the internal market for electricity in the European Union, following the method of doctrinal legal research. Concretely, this article investigates what kinds of tensions may arise from the coexistence of these two legal regimes and whether there are mechanisms in place to prevent or mitigate such tensions. Three main tensions are identified. The first tension lies in the fact that some of the innovations facilitated by smart metering in the energy sector rely on technologies that might not be entirely compatible with the GDPR. A second tension follows from the existence of separate but interrelated regimes for access to data of the consumer/data subject in the two legal instruments here analysed. The third tension relates to a possible overlap of competences between the supervisory authorities of both regimes. This article is a contribution to the still scarce legal scholarship on the interplay between the GDPR the Recast Electricity Directive. The findings of this research are of interest not only for academics but also for practitioners, policymakers and supervisory authorities that have to deal with the issues here identified.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1088
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • electricity, smart grids, smart meters, data sharing, GDPR, data protection provisions


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