Tag Archive | Electricity

Joint Comments on Proposed Smart Grid Privacy Policies and Procedures

Source: Center for Democracy and Technology, October 15, 2010

The Smart Grid promises great benefits to consumers and the environment, including lowered energy costs, increased usage of environmentally friendly power sources, and enhanced security against attack and outage.  At the same time, however, the Smart Grid presents new privacy threats through its enhanced collection and transmission of detailed consumption data – data that can reveal intimate details about activities within the home and that can easily be transmitted from one party to another.

Both the Commission and parties to this proceeding have agreed that a full set of “Fair Information Practice” principles, as previously outlined by CDT and EFF, is the best framework to adopt in order to protect consumers. Adopting rules based on the full set of FIPs is particularly important now, in light of a growing national consensus that consumer privacy is not adequately protected by mere “notice and choice.”

In these comments, we articulate a clear, concise set of policies and procedures that implement or “operationalize” the full set of FIPs for the Smart Grid. We respectfully encourage the Commission to require these policies and procedures of all regulable Smart Grid entities. CDT and EFF are interested in working with all parties on these proposed rules, and we invite other parties to offer suggestions for improvement or to express support for our framework.

See also CDT webpage that links to multiple articles on this topic.

See also related blog postings:

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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: jbeyea@cipi.com

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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