The first Smart Meter Gateways (SMGW) to achieve Common Criteria Certification from the Federal Office for Security in Information Technology (BSI) have been developed by Power Plus Communications AG.

This long-awaited breakthrough means that the smart meter rollout in Germany is set to begin in earnest. Industry leaders such as E.ON, innogy and EnBW already conducted field trials, and pre-ordered tens of thousands of PPC’s Smart Meter Gateways, in order to begin rollout as soon as possible. This week saw E.ON kick-start the nationwide smart meter rollout with its installation of the first ever BSI certified SMGW. ENBW and innogy are in position to follow suit before the end of the year.

Certification guarantees that the SMGW meets the strict technical and security criteria defined by the BSI, making them suitable for installation in Intelligent Metering Systems (iMSys) first outlined by the „Gesetz zur Digitalisierung der Energiewende“, the legal framework for smart metering laid down by the Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi).

What is a Smart Meter Gateway?

Data protection and privacy are of the first importance to the implementation of smart meters in Germany. The Smart Meter Gateway (SMGW) was first defined as early as 2012, as a physical firewall between the customer’s home area network and the outside world. As well as the physical device, a new market operator, the Gateway Administrator, would be needed to collect and distribute smart meter data to the home, the utility and other appropriate actors.

PPC and OpenLimit are the first manufacturers to receive the required Common Criteria (CC) Certification (BSI-CC-PP-0073 v 1.3) for their jointly developed SMGW and so meet all the requirements for the smart meter rollout. The receipt of the PTB-a 50.8 certificate from the Physical Technical Federal Institute in April 2018 had already confirmed the suitability of the SMGW for metering and calibration. The CC certification confirms the security aspects, including stringent requirements for cryptography, security modules, smart metering public key infrastructure and SMGW administration.

A new era for the energy industry

Compliance with the security requirements of the protection profile aims to guarantee data protection, data security and interoperability in smart metering. The SMGW is not only the pivot point for highly sensitive and personal data, but also enables the implementation of new applications and innovations in the context of digitalisation in the energy industry.

“With the receipt of certification, the digitalisation of the Energiewende can finally be set in motion,” said Ingo Schönberg, CEO of PPC. “This ushers in a new era for the energy industry. We are very proud that PPC is the first company to reach this milestone. Thanks to the successful cooperation with our development partners in the field of cryptography and security modules, we can present a Smart Meter Gateway, which is highly secure and also becomes an enabler for new business models. Thanks to our extensive partner network of meter manufacturers, gateway administrators and meter data management system manufacturers, metering point operators as well as partners from the area of controllable local systems (CLS) our SMGW has an interoperability that no other SMGW on the market offers. Our customers have already proven this in extensive pilot projects. In preparation for the rollout, the practical compatibility of our SMGW with multiple backend systems and meters was intensively tested. We were already able to undertake Lifecycle Assurance tests of the SMGW with four major energy suppliers under live conditions.”

It was a long road …

PPC first registered for SMGW certification in 2012. The certification process has taken more than six years, and involved the cooperation of many different industry and regulatory organisations. “The duration of the procedure is on the one hand a sign of the large scale and complexity of the requirements, and on the other hand that SMGW certification was uncharted territory for all involved. Over the years, requirements had to change and adapt, and new criteria were added. That is why we are very proud to have finally reached this milestone. Now we can address the real goal: the nationwide rollout of intelligent metering systems and full digitalisation,” said Eugen Mayer, Managing Director of PPC.

Zertifikatsübergabe BMWi

Official Certificate Awarding Ceremony, from left to right: Bernd Kowalski (Department Head BSI), Ingo Schönberg (CEO Power Plus Communications AG), Urban Rid (Department Head Energy Policy, Power and Grids, BMWi), Marc Gurov (Group CEO Open Limit Holding AG) (copyrigth: BMWi)

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