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Comments of Verizon and Verizon Wireless on DOE Request for Information—Implementing the National Broadband Plan by Empowering Customers and the Smart Grid: Data Access, Third Party Use, and Privacy

The development and deployment of smart grid technology hold tremendous promise towards improving the efficiency and reliability of our nation’s energy systems and empowering consumers to make better decisions about the use of electricity. Because effective communications networks will be central to the success of smart grid technology, Verizon is working closely with utilities, the developers of energy management systems, and others to use its extensive wireline and wireless broadband networks and related expertise to quickly and efficiently realize the promise of smart grid technology. As this technology progresses, the Department of Energy (“Department”) should promote privacy approaches that encourage innovation, experimentation, and competition from a variety of players while respecting consumers’ preferences regarding access to and privacy of energy usage data. The Department appears to share these objectives as it has stated that Smart Grid policies should “encourage and accommodate unpredicted innovations while making usage data reasonably available to those who should have it and respecting consumers’ reasonable interests in choosing how to balance the benefits of access against the protection of personal privacy and security.”