While smart meters can provide households with more autonomy regarding their energy consumption, they can also be a significant intrusion into the household’s privacy. There is abundant research implementing protection methods for different aspects (e.g. noise-adding and data aggregation, data down-sampling); while the private data are protected as sensitive information is hidden, some of the compulsory functions such as Time-of-use (TOU) billing or value-added services are sacrificed. Moreover, some methods, such as rechargeable batteries and homomorphic encryption, require an expensive energy storage system or central processor with high computation ability, which is unrealistic for mass roll-out. In this paper, we propose a privacy preserving smart metering system which is a combination of existing data aggregation and data down-sampling mechanisms. The system takes an angle based on the ethical concerns about privacy and it implements a hybrid privacy-utility trade-off strategy, without sacrificing functionality. In the proposed system, the smart meter plays the role of assistant processor rather than information sender/receiver, and it enables three communication channels to transmit different temporal resolution data to protect privacy and allow freedom of choice: high frequency feeder-level/substation-level data are adopted for grid operation and management purposes, low frequency household-level data are used for billing, and a privacy-preserving valued-add service channel to provide third party (TP) services. In the end of the paper, the privacy performance is evaluated to examine whether the proposed system satisfies the privacy and functionality requirements.
- privacy metric
- trade-off strategy