As long as there has been talk of smart grid, there have been matching concerns about privacy.
On Thursday, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued this bill that will standardize privacy measures and price and usage data security for all major California electrical utilities, including Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas and Electric Company, and any company that gains access to customers electrical usage data from one of the utilities.
Utilities will also be required to provide customers with daily updates of minute-by-minute market figures through an online platform, including usage, cost and pricing. The utilities have a window of 90 days to propose whatever tariff or price increases they may find necessary in order to conform with the new privacy rules.
“The rules and policies we’ve adopted are the first such in the nation and should serve as a national model,” said CPUC President Michael Peevey. The rules he said are on par with national standards for homeland security as outlined in Senate Bill 1476.
In an article on proposals for a California-state smart grid roadmap, Peevey talks about the potential risks of using IT in the energy space. Read the full story: Future Shock As California Utilities Admit Smart Grid Risks.
The bill is unique in that it goes beyond privacy measures to give customers more data, something that could increase customer engagement with energy usage data and promote more-efficient use of energy resources.
The Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition (DRSG), an independent trade group of demand response and smart grid companies, publicly commended this ruling precisely because it will facilitate energy efficiency programs.
“Research has shown that consumers can save 5 – 15% on their electricity use simply by acting on the feedback they receive,” said DRSG President Dan Delurey.
The bill mentions repeatedly that enhanced privacy measures are not intended to limit transfer of data to third parties groups that could implement demand response or energy efficiency programs.