Privacy and the New Energy Infrastructure

43 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2009 Last revised: 5 Nov 2014

Date Written: February 15, 2009


This article examines the privacy consequences of the diffusion of smart grid and smart metering technologies. It illustrates how high resolution electricity usage information can be used to reconstruct many intimate details of a consumer's daily life, and provides examples of how that information could be used in ways potentially invasive of an individual's privacy. The article then examines the nature of existing protections for such information, and evaluates their adequacy in protecting against some of these potentially invasive uses. The article concludes that state legislators and public utility commissions should examine the codes of conduct governing utility disclosure of consumer information in their various jurisdictions to address this new privacy threat.

Keywords: smart meter, smart grid, privacy, information privacy, electricity

JEL Classification: D82, L94

Suggested Citation

Quinn, Elias Leake, Privacy and the New Energy Infrastructure (February 15, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

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