Opower Implements Privacy by Design
Company commits to the trusted international privacy and data protection standard as it expands overseas
TORONTO – June 7, 2012 – Opower, the global leader in energy information software for the utility industry, today announced that it is embedding the principles of Privacy by Design, developed by Dr. Ann Cavoukian, Information and Privacy Commissioner for Ontario, Canada, into its company privacy principles. Cavoukian created the Privacy by Design framework to ensure that privacy is an integral part of any organization’s operations and that companies protect their consumers. Michael Sachse, Opower’s General Counsel and Vice President for Regulatory Affairs, made the announcement today at the Future of Energy summit in Toronto, which brings together top energy leaders from all across North America. Sachse is speaking with Commissioner Cavoukian on a panel relating to potential of energy data.
“We understand the importance of privacy and security to our utility partners and their customers,” said Sachse. “By incorporating Privacy by Design, the internationally recognized privacy standard, we are ensuring our partners that Opower is the no-risk option when it comes to energy information software.”
“I applaud Opower’s proactive efforts in embedding Privacy by Design into their company-wide privacy practices,” said Commissioner Cavoukian. “Providing privacy assurance to energy customers will be essential to the future of the Smart Grid. I strongly encourage others in the energy market working with smart meter data to do the same.”
In January, Opower released their own privacy and security Data Principles, a comprehensive set of commitments to give customers control of their energy consumption information and provide transparency to clients and the public about how the company uses and protects that information. Today, Opower released an updated advisory explaining how it has embedded the Privacy by Design approach into the Data Principles.
The objective of Privacy by Design is to ensure organizations design a proactive and preventative system that protects both the security and privacy of consumers at every stage. Opower’s integration of the Privacy by Design approach involves:
- Building security practices based on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) framework to accommodate the growing volume of data from smart meters and its increased sensitivity;
- Making the privacy of personally identifiable information the default, regardless of the platform or method of communication;
- Designing and building security and privacy protections at every stage in architecture and IT systems;
- Harnessing the productive, actionable benefits of data that respect customer privacy and security;
- Ensuring full protection of data throughout Opower’s entire ecosystem and partner network;
- Providing transparency and control to consumers over their energy data;
- Giving consumers choices through user-friendly options.
“Opower’s commitment to privacy protections go beyond what the laws require to protect client information,” said Opower CEO Dan Yates. “By embedding the Privacy by Design principles into our products we are ensuring that privacy is the default setting.”
Opower, which currently partners with more than 70 utility companies in 25 U.S. states and the U.K., provides utility customers with insight and information about their energy consumption. Energy usage information, provided by the utility, is at the core of the Opower platform: the data allows Opower to give families context on how their energy use compares to similar neighborhoods homes and insights into what actions could help them save energy – and save money.
Opower complies with the EU Safe Harbor Framework as set forth by the U.S. Department of Commerce and is a licensee of the TRUSTe Privacy Program.
Opower is the leader in energy information software, providing the utility industry’s only cross-channel platform proven to drive energy efficiency gains on a large scale. Using cutting-edge behavioral science and patent-pending analytics, the Opower platform enables utilities to provide targeted energy data and advice to each customer. Over 70 utilities—including 8 of the 10 largest in the U.S. — partner with Opower to improve the effectiveness of their energy-efficiency portfolios and motivate their customers to become more energy efficient, while dramatically increasing the level of customer engagement and overall customer satisfaction. For utilities with Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), the Opower platform represents a cost-effective way to convert hourly data into measurable energy savings, delivering a clear return on investment directly to customers. Founded in 2007 and privately held, Opower is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, with additional offices in San Francisco and London. For more information, please visit www.opower.com and follow us on Twitter @Opower