Zack Kaldveer, Communications Director, Consumer Federation of California and author of the blog Privacy Revolt, has a commentary on the California Progress Report that provides an overview of the smart grid system and its privacy implications that could be a good overview for those first trying to understand the issue. It begins:
A critically important debate has emerged regarding the privacy implications and challenges that a transition to a smart grid system for electricity poses and how such concerns can be addressed.
In California, as in states across the country, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is currently considering how to implement a smart grid electrical system. In response to this rulemaking, and the lack of attention being paid to consumer privacy to date, the Consumer Federation of California (CFC) recently joined The Utilities Reform Network(TURN) in urging the Commission to allow for a more comprehensive review and debate regarding such concerns.
In response, the PUC has agreed to hold separate privacy specific hearings – with accompanying workshops and public comments – at a date to be determined in mid December. While this is a temporary victory for privacy and consumer advocates, enormous challenges remain.