The US Department of Energy has released a set of privacy recommendations for smart grid stakeholders.  These are voluntary standards to guide privacy practices.

Currently open for public comment, the Voluntary Code of Conduct lists a variety of recommendations focussing on; consumer awareness and notice, customer choice and consent, complaint resolution and redress.

Department of Energy has released a set of voluntary privacy recommendations for smart grid owners, operators, and third parties; industry stakeholders have until October 14 to comment on draft. These can be accessed here.

The DoE believes that sectoral feeling is that the government should facilitate a data privacy framework, but not mandate rules.

According to Informationweek.com: ‘At the end of 2012, some 530 utility companies had installed more than 43 million smart meters in US homes and businesses, according to the US Energy Information Administration. More than 38 million of these were residential installations, while businesses accounted for the rest.’

Privacy concerns are a consideration for utilities worldwide. There are concerns that data will be used to create a highly detailed profile of individual households, as smart meters have the ability to give access to such detailed information as what appliances are turned on or turned off, when a computer is being charged, when the dishwasher is being used, when a light has been left on for too long, or when a house is empty.

Informatonweek.com reports: ‘Privacy advocates fear that the growing adoption of smart appliances, such as smart thermostats and lighting systems, will enable even more granular data collection from inside homes and reveal minute details of the daily routines of a household. At least eight states have implemented laws governing third-party access to such data.’