Under the policy, intended to protect consumers while supporting a national rollout of a smart electric grid, utility companies would ensure customer information is not disclosed to third parties except when the customer consents, disclosure is required to provide reliable electric service or disclosure is required by law, such as warrants or "sunshine" laws.
The policy is intended to regulate the information practices of electric utilities that are implementing new wireless technology in an effort to improve energy reliability, increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve the environment. But the technology also raises privacy concerns because smart meters provide real-time data on electricity use that may indicate how many people are in the house, what they are doing, what appliances are being used and other data that is valuable to advertisers and other companies.
- Make privacy the default setting.
- Provide complete privacy protection.
- Know the law regarding public disclosure in your state.
- Only store/provide access to necessary information.
- Obtain written consent before disclosing to most third parties.
- Educate customers about the implications of sharing data with third parties.
- Notify customers when data is disclosed.
- Develop a plan for contingencies.