Your energy data — Who wants it and what can they do with it?

Who wants our information and why?

Who wants smart meter data? How could the data be used?
Utilities To monitor electricity usage and load; to determine bills
Electricity usage advisory companies To promote energy conservation and awareness
Insurance companies To determine health care premiums based on unusual behaviors that might indicate illness
Marketers To profile customers for targeted advertisements
Law enforcers To identify suspicious or illegal activity*
Civil litigators To identify property boundaries and activities on premises
Landlords To verify lease compliance
Private investigators To monitor specific events
The press To get information about famous people
Creditors To determine behavior that might indicate creditworthiness
Criminals To identify the best times for a burglary or to identify high-priced appliances to steal

Source: ”Potential Privacy Impacts that Arise from the Collection and Use of Smart Grid Data,” National Institute of Standards and Technology, Volume 2, pp. 30–32, Table 5-3. Reprinted in

California Public Utilities Commission:

Currently, there are about 200 firms or other providers of energy efficiency services who have Commission authorization to conduct energy efficiency programs or energy efficiency program evaluations and have access to information for this primary purpose under contract with the Commission. Beyond these firms, other government entities, such as local government and state agencies, implement energy efficiency programs and obtain access to consumption data under the Commission’s supervision.

…Still other third parties may acquire consumption data: (including) from the utility via the “backhaul” with the consumer’s authorization and pursuant to tariff conditions (currently Google obtains information in this matter from San Diego)…
CPUC Decision Adopting Rules to Protect the Privacy and Security of the  Electricity Usage Data, Rulemaking 08-12-009, p. 34, 35, 7-29-2011

Data fusion

At a California PUC workshop on Dec. 9, 2011, PG&E representatives said that customers would be able to compare their energy usage online to others with the same home square footage. Asked how PG&E would know the square footage of our homes, a rep quickly responded, “That’s public information.”

Smart Grid

 “GridGlo is working with utilities to combine consumer household behavioral data with energy usage data—along with a dollop of data on weather, demographics, motor vehicle registrations, and even satellite imagery—and from all that, to draw strategic operational and marketing conclusions. The process is called data fusion.
Behave Yourself! The Utilities ‘Have Got Your Numbers’ and Next They’ll Know Your Habits, Too

 From the GridGlo website:

Our technology can tell a utility if their customers are married, have kids, living in a 5,000 square foot home, if and when they installed solar panels, if they drive a hybrid electric vehicle, if they had the same job for the last ten years, havent moved in that time and more. You put those components together and you begin to build an understanding of how this is all related to energy consumption.

A New York research firm that turns massive amounts of data into streamlined information, the companies revealed today.

GridGlo sells software and services that help utilities see how and why their customers, primarily homeowners, are using electricity in real-time. They also provide utilities with an Energy People Scoring Mechanism, or EPM score that the company hopes will become a standard like the FICO score is to credit card issuers and other financial institutions.

,,,GridGlos platform uses advanced data fusion technology to merge AMI data with social and behavioral data, providing new ways for Utilities to forecast, segment, and monetize their data.

GridGlo has now changed its name to “Trove”, as in treasure trove.

The possibilities for data fusion are endless, particularly with the implementation of the Home Area Network. Medical and pharmaceutical records, and data collected from intelligent transportation systems are just a few examples of the data that can be “fused” together to create complete portraits of our daily lives.

Data marketing

Smart Grid

‘We realized utilities were getting all this data from advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) deployments and there was no clear understanding [of] how to monetize the data or use the data,’ said Isaias Sudit, CEO of the origins of GridGlo.”

 “’Smart grid utilities are evolving into brokers of information,’ says industry analyst Marianne Hedin.”

Behave Yourself! The Utilities ‘Have Got Your Numbers’ and Next They’ll Know Your Habits, Too

From the CPUC proceeding on privacy and the Smart Grid, Docket #: R 08-12-009 (July 28, 2011)

  • Commissioner Timothy Alan Simon, “I support today’s decision because it adopts reasonable privacy and security rules and expands consumer and third-party access to electricity usage and pricing information. I hope this decision stimulates market interest in the data.”
  • “The privacy rules in today’s decision establish a solid framework for creating balance between protecting consumer privacy and fostering a new market for third-party participants,” said Commissioner Mark J. Ferron.

Press Release regarding Docket #: R 08-12-009, July 28, 2011

In May 2012, AT&T and Verizon filed comments on the CPUC’s Smart Grid Workshop summary about market access to consumer data from Smart Meters:

A means to achieve a greater degree of certainty is to establish forward-looking, pro-competitive principles from the beginning that prohibit barriers to market entry. New entrants need prompt, unfettered and reasonable access to the detailed customer usage data collected by a Smart Meter. And such access needs to reflect consistent, standardized methods across utilities. Principles such as these will spur investment and innovation in Smart Grid-enabled products and services and, in turn, will benefit customers, the environment and the economy. In short, the Commission should not delay the principles for access to detailed data at the customer side of the smart meter.

Joint Reply Comments of AT&T and Verizon to March 1, 2012 Smart Grid Workshop Summary, A. 11-06-006 et al., May 17, 2012


This and additional information on privacy and surveillance are on pages 19-27,

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