The CPUC’s decision applies to the state’s three largest electric utilities—Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), and Southern California Edison (SCE)—which serve eight out of 10 Californians and which combined have deployed approximately eight million smart meters, with the final three million to be installed by the end of 2012.
The decision means the utilities must provide daily updates on detailed energy usage, bill-to-date, month-end bill forecast, and projected month-end energy price, to be made available on the companies’ respective web sites. This rule is similar to what Westar Energy will start providing to its SmartStar customers in Kansas.
Another provision requires tier alerts. In California, consumers pay more per kilowatt the more energy they use, with pricing rates divided into five tiers. When customers move from one price tier to the next, the utilities need to send notifications. The Commission says the notifications can be made “via e-mail, text message, tweet, chat, or some other form of rapid communication.” PG&E already provides this service.
All residents and businesses served by California’s three largest utilities have the option of switching to a time-of-use rate. So the Commission is requiring consumers be provided with a rate calculator to help them determine whether they would save money by switching to a time-of-use rate. This tool would use an individual customer’s data as collected by the utility.
The smart meters installed by California’s big three power utilities contain a Home Area Network interface, basically a radio that uses the ZigBee standard for transmitting data to homes and businesses. Currently, the interface has not been activated. But the CPUC decision requires each utility to file plans that “include an initial phase with a rollout that enables a minimum of 5,000 HAN-enabled devices to be directly connected with smart meters, as envisioned in the decisions approving the deployment of AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure)— even if full functionality and rollout to all customers awaits resolution of technology and standard issues.”
In addition, consumers will be able to authorize third parties to receive their backhauled smart meter data directly from the utility to support a variety of services including energy efficiency and demand response. The three major utilities will submit applications to the Commission with specific plans, including which standards they will use, expected to be the Open Automated Data Exchange (OpenADE) standard that is in its final development with NIST’s Smart Grid Interoperability Panel and the North American Energy Standards Board. The utilities, the Commission notes, “will bear no new liability for the actions of third parties” that acquire the information.
But to better protect consumer privacy and data security, the CPUC will have jurisdiction over third parties who receive data, whether gotten when providing services to utilities, or when authorized by consumers. However, the CPUC will not exercise jurisdiction over third parties who receive energy usage data directly from a device installed at residence or business that receives data via the HAN interface.
In presenting its ruling, the CPUC said it relied primarily on existing privacy law, using the Fair Information Practice Principles, developed by the United States Department of Homeland Security as its privacy framework.
Original Source: http://www.emeter.com/smart-grid-watch/2011/california-puc-adopts-consumer-data-access-and-privacy-rules-for-smart-meters/ by Chris King of eMeter