What is informational privacy?
The essence of informational privacy relates to one’s ability to exercise control and have freedom of choice relating to the collection, use and disclosure of information about oneself. In the increasingly connected ‘smart’ world, adequate and safe informational privacy will become key to enabling a utility to access the data needed to increase operational efficiency, enable on-going energy efficiency programmes and monitor energy usage, while ensuring that the consumer feels protected.
Theoretically, meter data could provide insight into how many people live in a dwelling, when they are home and what type of appliances they are to likely have in their homes.
A reoccurring concern with any smart programme is that customers believe the utility having access to information about them is an invasion of their privacy. For many, the fact that the frequency and load profile of certain types of appliances can be determined by examining electricity usage data – and can provide such granular information as how many times a householder has boiled their kettle, and what type of television they own – is unsettling.