Gridwise Alliance commends state regulators for their efforts to ensure that care for privacy concerns is “baked in” to the smart grid in order to allow consumers to make meaningful choices about how their data is used and to otherwise respect consumers’ privacy interests. The Alliance points out that the success of home‐energy management applications will depend on the development of a robust, workable policy framework for privacy protection.
The energy‐use data issues involved extend beyond the question of utilities sharing data gathered from smart meters with third parties. Utility sharing with third parties is an important issue, of course. However, consumer energy‐use data can and will be collected not only from smart meters, but from smart appliances, smart thermostats, plug‐in electric vehicles and more. Each additional point of data collection creates a potential privacy challenge by generating extra information about the lifestyle and habits of the individuals with whom it is associated.
Gridwise Alliance recommends that privacy concerns for energy‐use data be addressed by the application of Fair Information Practice Principles (FIPPs)1 and by encouraging utilities, service providers and other interested stakeholders to develop voluntary, enforceable codes to which all will subscribe and abide, based on FIP principles like transparency and choice.