Protecting Consumer Privacy while Building a Smarter Grid

Protecting Consumer Privacy while Building a Smarter Grid

Smart grid technologies have the capacity to create tremendous new value for electricity consumers: from advanced IT and communication technologies that improve the overall operation of our nations electricity transmission and distribution networks; to smart meters and digital sensors that help utilities quickly identify and minimize the extent of outages when they do occur. In addition, consumers now have the ability to monitor and manage their electricity use in far greater detail by tapping into the data generated by smart meters.

Many of these emerging technologieswhich provide tremendous benefits not only for the nations electric system but for consumers throughout the United Stateswill result in an increase in the amount of data collected regarding grid operating characteristics, including customer energy use data. As the nations electric infrastructure is modernized, it is critically important to ensure that the collection of data is performed in a manner that yields the greatest benefits for consumers, while continuing to rigorously protect their privacy.

Much progress has been made toward this goal to date. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Energys (DOEs) Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, in coordination with the Federal Smart Grid Task Force, finalized a 22-month multi-stakeholder effort to develop a Voluntary Code of Conduct (VCC) for utilities and third parties on protecting electricity consumers Customer Data which includes energy usage information. The VCC, once launched, will reflect input from stakeholders across the electricity industry and incorporate comments and responses from the public that were collected via DOEs Federal Register Notice issued last year. The VCC addresses and includes provisions for the following key principles:

  •     Consumer Notice and Awareness. Customers should be given prior notice about privacy-related policies and practices by service providers.
  •     Customer Choice and Consent. Customers should have a degree of control over access to their own Customer Data.
  •     Customer Data Access and Participation. Customers should have access to their own Customer Data and should have the ability to participate in its maintenance.
  •     Integrity and Security. Customer data should be as accurate as reasonably possible and secured against unauthorized access.
  •     Self-Enforcement Management and Redress. Enforcement mechanisms should be in place to ensure compliance with the foregoing principles.

Over the coming months, the Administration looks forward to discussing these issues further with utility companies and other stakeholders to ensure that consumers are protected while enjoying the many opportunities and benefits made possible with smart grid technologies.

Source: The White House

Smart Grid Bulletin April 2018

View all SMART GRID Bulletins click here

Enter your email-id to subscribe to the