Smart Grid Data Policy and Privacy Concerns

What is the scientific potential of smart grid data — socio-spatial data?What privacy issues arise (e.g., utilities will know when you’re on vacation)? Who will own smart grid data — the customer or to the collecting utility? Who will be able to access the data — local and state governments, federal agencies, researchers? Check out the following article for an interesting discussion of the issues.

The Smart Electricity Grid and Scientific Research.

Are there ways to spot impending electricity outages? How does energy usage correlate with current events, appliance standards, and price? Which utility programs work best to improve energy efficiency? How are appliance efficiencies changing over time? How varied is the usage of appliances from person to person, from region to region, and from decade to decade?

So-called “smart” meters and appliances have the potential to save energy, to shave peak electricity usage, and to reduce risks of blackouts (16). Typical smart meter designs include periodic transmission of current, phase, and frequency data from the user to the electricity distribution company. Utilities will use the data in billing calculations under time-of-day pricing, for load-management research, to provide customer feedback, and/or to adjust customer appliances.

Source: Jan Beyea, e-mail:

Science 21 May 2010:
Vol. 328. no. 5981, pp. 979 – 980
DOI: 10.1126/science.1189229

Unfortunately, the above article is only available through subscription, but you may be able to get it through your local library.

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