Acceptance of Privacy-Sensitive Technologies

Smart Metering Case in The Netherlands

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Over recent years there have been several initiatives around the world that aim to roll out smart metering systems, especially within North America and member states of the European Union. Smart metering systems, giving essential conditions for smart grids in the energy sector, can offer services aimed at achieving many different goals beyond the main task of metering electricity consumption of households. Despite the many advantages gained by the smart metering system, there is a number of serious issues that may lead to the system’s failure or inability to reach its goals. One such obstacle which can lead to consumers’ rejection of smart meters is perceived security and privacy violations of consumers’ information. The social rejection of smart meters poses a significant threat to a successful rollout and operation of the system as consumers represent a cornerstone in the fulfillment of goals such as energy efficiency and savings, by their active interaction with the smart meters. To investigate consumers’ perception of smart meters theories and models from the technology acceptance literature can be used for understanding consumers’ behaviors, and exploring possible factors that can have a significant impact on consumers’ acceptance and usage of a smart meter. In this paper, a first-stage hybrid model of a two well-known technology acceptance theories is presented. These theories are: the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Usage of Technology- UTAUT, and Innovation Diffusion Theory- IDT. The hybrid model is further extended with additional acceptance determinants derived from the smart metering case in the Dutch context. The model aims to investigate determinants that can help shed the light on consumers’ perception of the system and its acceptance.