New technology – with increased intelligence – is allowing utilities to upgrade their electricity infrastructure to improve operations and increase efficiencies. It is also providing opportunities for new, innovative products and services so consumers can better manage their electricity use. These technologies, while providing tremendous value, have led to concerns regarding consumer data privacy. Maintaining consumer trust and protecting consumer privacy are critical and the changing technology environment means these fundamental protections warrant new attention.
With this in mind, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (DOE OE), in coordination with the Federal Smart Grid Task Force, heeded the Administration's call to facilitate the development of industry voluntary codes of conduct. In late 2012, DOE OE launched a multi-stakeholder initiative, A Voluntary Code of Conduct for Smart Grid Data Privacy, to develop a privacy code that would provide utilities and third parties not only a framework for handling and protecting customer's data, but also a visible method (i.e., brand mark) for communicating their commitment to their customers.
DOE's initiative brought together stakeholders from across industry (utilities, regulatory bodies, consumer and privacy advocates, technology providers, and associations) to write the voluntary code of conduct for data privacy through an open, transparent consensus-driven process that included public, open meetings and industry-led work groups.
More information about the Initiative and details about the process can be found at www.smartgrid.gov/privacy.