On May 6, 2011, the Californian PUC (CPUC) issued a proposed decision [[link]]] by CPUC President Peevey addressing smart grid privacy and security. The proposed decision is part of a longstanding proceeding we first discussed [here]. 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.
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.
A presentation by Hogan Lovells privacy partners compares European Commission “EG2” privacy recommendations for smart grids with the comparable recommendations of the NIST. We explain the concept of “privacy by design” in the smart grid environment and the use of detailed privacy use cases to mitigate system risks. The presentation compares the U.S. concept of “PII” with the European concept of “personal data” and discusses the risks associated with transferring household electricity data to third parties, as is mandated by California and Italian law.
The California Public Utilities Commission recently issued a proposed decision, which provides California energy companies with details on what information they will need to provide in plans to be submitted prior to the deployment of Smart Grids. The proposed decision is a major step in California’s creation of the regulatory framework that will apply to energy companies as they increasingly rely on Smart Grids to deliver energy to consumers.
The FCC’s National Broadband Plan signals that the Commission will take an expanded role in privacy-related consumer protection issues. This blog entry details the privacy-related aspects of the Plan.
A new white paper, “Smart Privacy for the Smart Grid: Embedding Privacy in the Design of Electricity Conservation”, is available for downloan through the Hogan & Hartson Chronicle of Data Protection. The paper highlights the importance of building privacy into new “Smart Grid” technologies from the outset. The paper is co-authored by the Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Dr. Ann Cavoukian, Jules Polonetsky and Hogan’s Christopher Wolf. Wolf and Polonetsky co-authored the paper in their capacity as co-chairs of the Washington-based Future of Privacy Forum.