Brookings India, in collaboration with the National Smart Grid Mission (NSGM), organized a workshop on Power Sector Data on July 4, 2017. This by-invitation workshop brought together IT and Electricity leaders across India to discuss issues related to power sector data, spanning two dimensions of power:
- Where is the data today, how is it being used/shared, and who has rights to it?
- How are issues of ownership, rights, and privacy being handled for power sector consumer data?
Data is critical in all sectors, not only for billing needs (an obvious starting point), but also because data underpins choices and interventions, leading to possible improvements in operations efficiency, interventions, policies, etc. Even prices are inherently a “data” issue (for example, markets). The power sector brings unique challenges based on the critical of services and limited prior expertise using and internalizing IT.
In the power sector, there are multiple stakeholders in the ecosystem: from generators to distribution companies to consumers, in addition to regulators and 3rd party service providers, among others. All these stakeholders want data to help them with their respective needs.
Brookings India is undertaking research on possible frameworks for handling power sector data, which can be helpful for not just “today’s problems” (how to use data better) but also tomorrow’s potential risks and opportunities. Even existing data isn’t utilized as much as feasible, and in the future, with Smart Grids, the volume of data will become orders of magnitude higher. Such data brings both opportunities (efficiency, competitiveness, reliability, etc.) but also concerns – e.g., at the very least, billing data can tell is someone is home or not.
The focus of this workshop was limited to power sector data, especially with consumers and citizens in mind, even though there could be synergies to Smart City deployments, where many similar questions may exist (future efforts).
Questions for discussion include:
1) Accuracy – is the data correct? How do we challenge data?
2) Access and rights – Who can see the data? In what form?
3) Privacy – how is privacy to be maintained?
Corollaries to the above include:
1) Where is the data?
2) Who “owns” such data?
3) Who is responsible for such data?