Advanced technologies have opened the way to grid modernization. But with great potential for efficiency gains, integration of renewables and EVs, etc., come privacy concerns. The U.S. Department of Energy is developing a "voluntary code of conduct" for utilities and third-party service providers. The goal is to instill confidence amongst regulators and consumers that privacy is being seriously considered, at least among those firms who are signatories.

Last year, the DOE's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability began multistakeholder meetings to develop the code of conduct. Though regulated utilities protect consumers’ privacy of their energy data usage, third party service providers do not .

As of the last meeting in November 2013, the voluntary code of conduct is in draft form. DOE hosted the Smart Grid Privacy Workshop in January 2012 to hold a dialog among key industry stakeholders.

Don't be surprised if, in 2014, your company is asked to sign on.