PublicationJournal Article Review and Perspectives on Data Sharing and Privacy in Expanding Electricity Access

June 22, 2019
Publication Type:
Journal Article

Increased sens­ing and data col­lec­tion in electric

power sys­tems from util­ity to min­i­grid to indi­vid­ual household

scale are result­ing in an explo­sion of data col­lec­tion about

users and providers of elec­tric­ity ser­vices. In the push to

expand energy access for poor com­mu­ni­ties, the collection,

use, and cura­tion of these data have his­tor­i­cally taken a

back seat to the goal of expand­ing energy access but are

increas­ingly being rec­og­nized as impor­tant issues. We review

the nascent lit­er­a­ture on this topic, char­ac­ter­ize cur­rent data

man­age­ment prac­tices, and exam­ine how expand­ing access

to data and data shar­ing are likely to pro­vide value and pose

risks to key stake­hold­ers: end users of elec­tric­ity, microutilities,

macroutil­i­ties, gov­ern­ments, devel­op­ment institutions,

and researchers. We iden­tify the key oppor­tu­ni­ties and tensions

and pro­vide rec­om­men­da­tions for the design and implementation

of new data-​​sharing prac­tices and plat­forms. Our

review and analy­sis sug­gest that although a com­mon and

open plat­form for shar­ing tech­ni­cal data can mit­i­gate risks

and enable effi­ciency, fewer ben­e­fits are likely to be realized

from shar­ing detailed finan­cial data. We also recommend

code­sign­ing prac­tices with each stake­holder group, increasing

legal pro­tec­tions for end users of elec­tric­ity and using deep

qual­i­ta­tive data in addi­tion to quan­ti­ta­tive metrics.

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