A template for utilities: smart grid privacy policy

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By: SGN Staff

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Smart grid implementation, particularly smart meters, generates an unimaginable amount of data as part of the overall effort to improve energy reliability and efficiency, cut costs and help the environment. But all that data is not just a concern for the utilities that collect it. Almost every anti-smart meter campaign cites the possibility for, or outright alleges, invasion of privacy because of the detailed information that data could provide about consumers.

 

To resolve the data privacy issue, Vermont Law School's (VLS) Institute for Energy and the Environment released an updated, more specific version of a smart grid data privacy model intended for use by utilities. The school's Smart Grid Research Project focuses on the new legal, regulatory and policy issues smart grid deployment has been raising.

 

"This policy can be used in existing form or can be altered to fit each utility's needs and local, state and federal laws. Our goal is to help develop a national model for consumer protection, while enabling broad adoption of smart grid technology," said Kevin Jones, VLS smart grid project leader.

 

The policy addresses nine key principles. Among them are:

·         Make privacy the default setting

·         Provide complete privacy protection

·         Only store/provide access to necessary information

·         Obtain written consent before disclosing to most third parties

·         Develop a contingency plan

 

Jones commented that input on the privacy model is welcome.

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