KIUC addresses smart meter privacy concerns with policy amendment

LIHU‘E — Law enforcement will not be able to access utility customer data  collected by smart meters without a subpoena or warrant, according to a policy amendment passed unanimously Tuesday by the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative board of directors.

Wording was added to a section of Board Policy No. 16 Access to Cooperative Information to include customer data gathered by smart meters and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), pending planned installation throughout the island later this year.

“We are getting some concerns about public privacy, so we are addressing these concerns with this policy,” said board director Peter Yukimura, who introduced the motion for the Policy Committee.

The board’s decision to amend Board Policy 16 to include AMI data also follows a communication to the co-op from the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i concerning the protection of data that is “of great interest to law enforcement.”

The amendment reads:

“Information contained within a member’s file, whether in electric form or otherwise, including information collected by any advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system (smart meters), where the source of particular data can be attributed to an individual member, is for legitimate internal KIUC use and is confidential.

“Such information will not be provided to anyone except the individual member, the member’s spouse on receipt of proper identification or upon presentation of a release of information form signed by the member. Information will not be released to law enforcement personnel or other individuals or agencies without a subpoena or search warrant.

“KIUC may, however, disclose to law enforcement personnel without a subpoena or such warrant information from a customer’s file relating to crimes committed against KIUC by that member.”

Following the vote, co-op member Ken Taylor said, “The problem is what you just did doesn’t have anything to do with hackers.”

Board Chair Phil Tacbian said, “This part of the meeting is for members of the board only.”

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