Tag Archive | Smart Grid

New CRS Report on Smart Meter Data: Privacy and Cybersecurity

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The Congressional Research Service recently prepared for the Members and Committees of Congress a report titled, Smart Meter Data: Privacy and Cybersecurity (R42338), published on February 3, 2012 by co-authors Bradon J. Murril, Edward C. Liu, and Richard M. Thompson II.

Summary: Fueled by stimulus funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), electric utilities have accelerated their deployment of smart meters to millions of homes across the United States with help from the Department of Energy’s Smart Grid Investment Grant program. As the meters multiply, so do issues concerning the privacy and security of the data collected by the new technology. This Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) promises to increase energy efficiency, bolster electric power grid reliability, and facilitate demand response, among other benefits. However, to fulfill these ends, smart meters must record near-real time data on consumer electricity usage and transmit the data to utilities over great distances via communications networks that serve the smart grid. Detailed electricity usage data offers a window into the lives of people inside of a home by revealing what individual appliances they are using, and the transmission of the data potentially subjects this information to interception or theft by unauthorized third parties or hackers.

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Colorado PUC Holds Hearing on Smart Grid Privacy Rules | Info Law Group

by Nicole Friess, Info Law Group, October 18, 2011

On August 29, 2011, Administrative Law Judge G. Harris Adams issued a recommended decision before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on proposed Smart Grid data privacy rules to regulate the information practices of electric utilities. The proposed rules will revise the current rules applicable to Smart Meter data privacy and disclosure rules in the Code of Colorado Regulations. According to the PUC, the new rules will provide more clarity on data privacy concerns and protect customer information from unauthorized disclosure, while at the same time granting customers access to their own information. …

For full text of the article, visit Colorado PUC Holds Hearing on Smart Grid Privacy Rules : Info Law Group.

Spatial Law and the Smart Grid

by Matt Ball, Spatial Sustain, on September 27, 2011

Kevin Pomfret, executive director of the Centre for Spatial Law and Policy, spoke this morning at the Autovation event regarding privacy issues related to spatial information and the smart grid. With the move to collect more and more data from phones, imaging sensors, smart meters, and other sensor sources, there is a growing concern about what this mass of data reveals about individuals. … Legal concerns regarding spatial data from the user and provider standpoint revolve around privacy, data quality and liability regarding quality if the data is used for something it wasn’t intended, intellectual property, and risk.

For full text of the article, visit Spatial Sustain Blog.

California PUC Issues Proposed Decision on Smart Grid Privacy

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by Timothy Tobin, Hogan and Lovells: Chronicle of Data Protection, May13, 2011

Summary: On May 6, 2011, the Californian PUC (CPUC) issued a proposed decision by CPUC President Peevey addressing smart grid privacy and security. … The proposed decision represents a significant step towards the first set of specific smart grid privacy rules in the United States during a time that smart grid privacy is attracting increasing global attention. For example, as discussed in the Chronicle of Data Protection post on April 18, 2011, the European Union’s Article 29 Working Party issued smart meter guidelines last month. …

For full text of the article, click here.

Europe’s Article 29 Working Party issues smart meter guidelines

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Source: HL Chronicle of Data Protection, April 18, 2011

Europe’s group of data protection authorities, the Article 29 Working Party, issued an opinion on smart meters, which goes into surprising detail on points such as the size of the display for the user interface, the need for a ‘push button’ consent module for consumers, the need to keep load graph data stored locally whenever possible.  The Art 29 WP stresses the need for energy suppliers and third party energy service companies to develop detailed data retention policies to ensure smart meter data are deleted as soon as no longer needed. … The opinion strongly recommends the implementation of Privacy by Design, including privacy impact assessments, security and privacy audits.

via Europe’s Article 29 Working Party issues smart meter guidelines : HL Chronicle of Data Protection.

Consumer Privacy, Energy Use Data, and Trust | The Energy Collective

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Consumer Privacy, Energy Use Data, and Trust

Posted January 31, 2011 by Christine Hertzog

Consumer privacy concerns are an important focus of many Smart Grid conversations.  Everyone agrees that consumers need to be educated about the entirely new types of energy use data that can be created with Smart Grid technologies.  While we must ensure that consumers are aware of their rights and responsibilities regarding energy use data, there is less conversation ongoing about educating utilities and vendors to deploy programs to ensure data privacy, and there are no conversations ongoing about who owns the value of that energy use data. …

For full text of the article via Consumer Privacy, Energy Use Data, and Trust | The Energy Collective.

Privacy Professor on Smart Grid Privacy Standards

Smart Grid Privacy: Possible Privacy Standards To Address Concerns

Source: Privacy Professor Blog, November 20, 2010

Sorry to be so tardy in getting a blog post out. As many of you know I’ve been working with the NIST Smart Grid Privacy Subgroup since late June. The work done for this group is through time volunteered by all involved. As a quick recap, I led the privacy impact assessment (PIA) for the consumer-to-utility portion of the planned smart grid during the late June to late August/early September time frame. On Friday, 11/20, I provided an update on our NIST groups activities during the Gridwise Alliance phone conference; perhaps some of you were on that call? Here are some links showing information about our NIST Smart Grid privacy group’s work…

For full text of the article and links, click on Privacy Professor Blog.

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:

Related Articles

Data Access and Privacy Issues Related to Smart Grid Technologies



Department of Energy, October 5, 2010

This section summarizes and records DOE‘s impressions of the results of its efforts to collect and analyze diverse perspectives on the current state of data security and consumer access and privacy issues associated with the ongoing development and deployment of ―Smart Grid technologies. In so doing, it provides federal, state and local policymakers, as well as utilities and third-party providers of energy management services, with a concise, broad overview of the current state of ongoing efforts to assess the legal and regulatory implications of the data-security and data-privacy issues that were identified during a public information-gathering process conducted by DOE in the spring and summer of 2010. In this document, DOE attempts to provide a measure of certainty for all Smart Grid participants on issues where there is consensus, as well as highlight the pros and cons of various approaches where debate still exists.
DOE stresses the intended audience and the legal and regulatory focus of this report because efforts to encourage the deployment of Smart Grid technologies will depend significantly upon two factors.  First, the success of such efforts depends upon the development of legal and regulatory regimes that respect consumer privacy, promote consumer access to and choice regarding third-party use of their energy data, and secure potentially sensitive data to increase consumer acceptance of Smart Grid.  Second, the success of such efforts also depends upon the development of appropriate technical standards and protocols for promoting privacy, choice, and the secure, interoperable transfer and maintenance of sensitive data. 
 This report focuses on the first of these challenges. Federal efforts to investigate the second set of technical issues and promote the development of standards for addressing them are also underway. Those seeking analyses of the technical issues should consult publications like the  Guidelines for Smart Grid Cyber Security: Vol. 2, Privacy and the Smart Grid, released by the National Institute of Standards and Technology in August 2010.
For full text of the report, click here.
For a related posting on the  Geodata Policy blog, click here.


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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