California PUC adopts rules on customer electricity usage data


Michael R. Peevey,
California PUC
San Francisco, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — July 29, 2011 – The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved rules to protect the privacy and security of customer usage data generated by the smart meters of the state’s three investor owned utilities Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric Company.

The rules are also applicable to companies that assist utilities in their operations, companies under contract with the utilities, and other companies that, after authorization by a customer or by the action of the PUC, gain access to a customer’s usage data directly from one of the utilities.

In addition to the rules that were adopted, the PUC’s decision requires utilities to provide pricing, usage, and cost data to customers online and updated at least on a daily basis. Each day’s usage data, along with applicable price and cost details, and with hourly or 15-minute granularity (matching the time granularity programmed into a smart meter), must be available by the next day.
“Our action will protect the privacy and security of customer usage data while enabling utilities and authorized third parties to use the information to provide useful energy management and conservation services to customers,” commented PUC president Michael R. Peevey. “The rules and policies we’ve adopted are the first such in the nation and should serve as a national model. They are also consistent with privacy and security principles adopted by the Department of Homeland Security and with the policies adopted in Senate Bill 1476, bringing California’s practices into conformity with the best national privacy and security practices.”

In the ongoing smart grid proceeding the PUC will explore whether the rules and policies adopted in this latest decision should also apply to community choice aggregators and electrical service providers.