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New intelligent technologies are providing increasing amounts of data that allow companies to better serve their customers—whether through more efficient operations or new, innovative products and services—but these devices also are increasing concerns over consumer data privacy. This is why DataGuard, the nation's first energy data privacy program, was developed.

DataGuard started in January 2015 when President Obama announced the release of the final concepts and principles for a Voluntary Code of Conduct (VCC) related to the privacy of customer energy usage data for utilities and third parties. The final VCC is the result of a 22-month multi-stakeholder effort that was facilitated by the Energy Department's Office of Electricity in coordination with the Federal Smart Grid Task Force. The VCC, which has now been branded as DataGuard provides a framework for establishing practices that protect the access, use, and sharing of customer data. Here are 7 facts about DataGuard:

  1. DataGuard is a voluntary program.
  2. DataGuard is for any company handling energy use data.
  3. Industry Stakeholders developed the concepts and principles.
  4. Companies develop their own policies and processes.
  5. DataGuard is self-certified.
  6. DataGuard is specific to customer energy usage data.
  7. DataGuard will stay current through regular reviews.

DataGuard provides companies with a consumer-facing mechanism for demonstrating their commitment to protecting consumers' data and thus increase consumer confidence. Learn more about adopting DataGuard at your company www.dataguardprivacyprogram.org/industry.

Understanding DataGuard

Webinar Recording

Access to consumer energy data is in high demand today! Energy usage data is required for accurate analysis and management of the myriad of new products and services entering the consumer energy market. Along with using customers' personal data to design and deliver effective products and services comes the responsibility of protecting their privacy.

In this recording of the partner webinar that took place on August 8, 2018, you will learn about the DataGuard Energy Data Privacy Program and how you can use it to assure your customers that their energy data is being protected and used responsibly. Listen to Eric Lightner, Director, Smart Grid Task Force, U.S. Department of Energy, and featured speakers from the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative, Green Button Alliance and UtilityAPI in this in-depth and timely webinar.

Go to Recording

Consumers and industry stakeholders can learn more about the DataGuard Energy Data Privacy Program at www.DataGuardPrivacyProgram.org.

Partnership Program

The DOE DataGuard Partnership is a formalized way for member-based organizations to indicate their support for the DataGuard concepts and principles. These organizations have stated their commitment to the importance of responsible sharing, access, and privacy of consumer energy use data:

If you have questions about the DataGuard Partner Program please send an email to DOE at DataGuard@nrel.gov.

Revisions and Updates

DOE will coordinate a DataGuard Revisions Working Team (RWT) that will review the concepts and principles for updates and revisions every 2 years. The team will review any suggested revisions that are received as well as conduct an independent review of the concepts and principles to determine if any revisions may be warranted. The RWT will also assess suggested revisions of an urgent nature that are clearly identified as needing a determination prior to the next two-year deadline. The RWT will be made up of volunteers, and best efforts will be made to ensure that the RWT is populated by a diverse set of stakeholders, such as utilities of various sizes, municipalities, cooperatives, consumer advocates, privacy advocates, regulators and/or third parties. The volunteers will serve for finite terms, although they could be subject to some degree of voluntary renewal upon approval of the entire RWT. The initial RWT, once formed, will discuss and decide issues regarding governance, bylaws, finite terms, etc.

When revisions are finalized, an adopting company that wishes to opt out of the revised concepts and principles must communicate its intent and the effective date of its opt out to the DOE. The company must then remove all DataGuard logos from communication by the opt-out effective date included in its notification to DOE.

If you would like to be notified of the program updates and revisions or would like to be a member of the DataGuard Revisions Working Team, please contact please contact Eric Lightner at DOE.

More on how DataGuard was developed
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The Department of Energy's Office of Electricity (OE) recognizes that our nation's sustained economic prosperity, quality of life, and global competitiveness depends on an abundance of secure, reliable, and affordable energy resources. OE leads the Department of Energy's efforts to ensure a resilient, and flexible electricity system in the United States. Learn more about OE >>