Alexis Abramson shares the impact privacy policies have on energy efficiency and grid research

Alexis Abramson, GLEI Director, provided perspective to Midwest Energy News on the impact privacy regulations can have on research into energy efficiency and the smart grid. 

In the Midwest, the number of smart electricity meters installed has been increasing. Smart meters are designed to read remotely and on a frequent basis making them ideal for providing energy efficiency improvements in the smart grid, however there are consumer concerns regarding the privacy of this data.

Utility information can only be shared by the power company if given permission by the consumer. States are looking at ways to collect smart meter data at a level that safeguards residential and commercial users while still providing third-party developers with high enough level of detail to be useful. Michigan state Rep. Gary Glenn introduced a bill to give residents the right to decline even having a smart meter. This privacy policy creates a roadblock for those trying to improve energy use on a bigger scale.

“Currently established privacy regulations are necessary to shield users from unwanted data collection, but they also pose as an obstacle on the road to smart grid advancement," said Abramson whose current research develops energy audits of commercial buildings utilizing meter data. 

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