Smart Meters, Smarter Regulation: Balancing Privacy and Innovation in the Electric Grid


Transitioning from our current energy infrastructure to a smart grid will be essential to meeting future challenges. One key component of the smart grid is advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). AMI allows for the grid to be run more effectively and efficiently by making granular near real-time data about customers’ energy usage available. Coupled with the input and innovation of third-party companies and researchers, the potential benefits of this technology are immense.

But given the granularity of AMI data, some academics and consumer advocates are concerned that the technology could place customer privacy at risk. It is therefore essential that regulators appropriately tailor privacy protections to strike the proper balance between the innovative potential of AMI data and consumers’ privacy concerns. When possible, regulators should opt for regimes allowing for the protected sharing of granular AMI data with third parties.

About the Author

Sam Harvey is a student at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law.

By uclalaw