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DATA MANAGEMENT Privacy and customer energy data What is informational privacy? The essence of informational privacy relates to one’s ability to exercise control and have freedom of choice relating to the collection, use and disclosure of information about oneself 1 . In the increasingly connected ‘smart’ world, adequate and safe informational privacy will become key to enabling a utility to access the data needed to increase operational efficiency, enable on-going energy efficiency programmes and monitor energy usage, while ensuring that the consumer feels protected. Theoretically, meter data could provide insight into how many people live in a dwelling, when they are home and what type of appliances they are to likely have in their homes. A reoccurring concern with any smart programme is that customers believe the utility having access to information about them is an invasion of their privacy. For many, the fact that the frequency and load profile of certain types of appliances can be determined by examining electricity usage data – and can provide such granular information as how many times a householder has boiled their kettle, and what type of television they own – is unsettling. The National Institute of Standards in Figure 1: The elements of control the US acknowledges that in terms of privacy, “the major benefit provided by the Smart Grid, the ability to get richer data to and from customer meters and other electric devices, is also its Achilles’ heel.” 2 In a world where households start talking with the power grid, what exactly will be revealed? And who will be listening? 1 Privacy by Design and Third Party Access to Customer Energy Usage Data 2 (Freedman 2012) http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/ energy/2012/12/121212-smart-meter-privacy/ 38 In a world where households start talking with the power grid, what exactly will be revealed? And who will be listening? 3 As customers move toward an increased online experience with their service providers, privacy becomes a matter of METERING INTERNATIONAL ISSUE - 1 | 2014