Smart grid technology offers new opportunities and benefits for utilities, consumers and vendors due to the numerous data it provides and the emerging products and services that use that data. Capturing and utilizing this data to optimize electricity delivery and to offer innovative products and services to consumers to better manage and control their electricity use can provide tremendous value but the associated privacy concerns these bring must be addressed. Preserving consumer privacy protections is critical.

Using its convening ability, OE launched the Smart Grid Data Privacy Voluntary Code of Conduct (VCC) Initiative in 2012. The VCC Initiative, undertaken in partnership with the Federal Smart Grid Task Force, was a multi-stakeholder effort involving utilities, regulatory bodies, consumer and privacy advocates, technology providers, and associations. The goal was to develop privacy concepts and principles through an open, transparent consensus-driven process that would provide utilities and third parties with a framework for handling and protecting customers’ data and a visible method for communicating their commitment to their customers.

On January 12, 2015, the release of the Data Privacy and the Smart Grid: A Voluntary Code of Conduct was announced as one of President Obama's next steps in his comprehensive approach to enhancing consumers’ security, tackling identity theft, and improving privacy online and in the classroom. The Voluntary Code of Conduct, which was renamed the DataGuard Energy Data Privacy Program (DataGuard), provides companies with a consumer-facing mechanism for demonstrating their commitment to protecting consumers' data and thus increase consumer confidence. While OE brought stakeholders together to develop the code and, as a neutral party, developed a mechanism for coordinating adoption commitments and the revision process, DataGuard is a completely voluntary program developed by industry stakeholders.   

For more information, visit the DataGuard website.