Centralized Demand Response Management Systems and Data Privacy

As demand-side resources become more readily incorporated into Generation and Transmission Cooperative (G&T) power supply strategies and G&Ts are deploying residential Demand Response (DR) programs in concert with member co-ops, member co-ops may have concerns regarding the privacy of their end consumer data which may include Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

PII, commonly defined, is information that can be used to identify an individual. The types of information that are considered as PII under laws and regulations may differ. Some examples of information that may be considered PII include first and last names of an individual, social security number, driver’s license number, information related to an individual’s financial account, email address, username, and password or security question for accessing an online account. 

Smart Grid solutions generally transmit, process, and store data of program participants in order for utilities to analyze and forecast demand, control load shed, and provide notice of DR events. Providers of such solutions may also have access to some or all such data. Having a Smart Grid service provider that has the necessary security safeguards and adaptability to design customized solutions to mitigate data privacy risks may help G&Ts make the best use of the next generation of Smart Grid technologies.

OATI uses best industry practices for Smart Grid solutions, including following guidelines of the Green Button Initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and complying with the most stringent NERC-Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) standards. For the transmittal of data, OATI fully encrypts and authenticates data sources with the OATI webCARES Digital Certificates and security processes. Plus, OATI continually monitors industry standards related to data security and readily adapts our Smart Grid/DR solutions to industry guidelines and best practices.

G&T Customer Case Study
There were several key reasons why one of OATI’s largest G&T DRMS customers selected OATI in their competitive bid process: 1) OATI was fully able to meet and/or exceed their functional requirements at a value-based and competitive price, 2) OATI has in-depth wholesale market experience, and 3) they were impressed by the way we handled and protected data in a highly secure manner. In fact, early on in the G&T’s procurement process, PII security concerns were identified as an issue of utmost importance to their member Cooperative leadership and outside stakeholders.  

Helping our G&T customers continue to build and maintain a trusted relationship with their member co-ops is very important to OATI. OATI was able to help facilitate that with the G&T and their stakeholders as they all learned more about OATI’s security expertise. Today, this G&T successfully and harmoniously executes their DR programs with their 16 member cooperatives, including integration with a variety of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and legacy systems in a highly secure and safe manner.

About the Author:
Linda Stevens is Sr. Director of Sales for OATI’s grid modernization solutions. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management and Leadership from Concordia University, St. Paul, MN. Ms. Stevens has dedicated her career to the energy industry. She began in an Investor Owned Utility where she learned firsthand about utility operations. This experience transitioned to an energy industry software and technology sales career path. Through a network of direct OATI sales executives, key technology alliances, and an industry leading distribution channel, she drives the strategic sales initiatives for OATI’s grid modernization (or Smart Grid) portfolio, with an emphasis on solutions for cooperatives and municipals.