Who Bears the Risks of Data-related Urban Infrastructural Experimentation? Hub project showcased at the 4S conference

Energy Transition Hub researchers Sangeetha Chandrashekeran, School of Geography, University of Melbourne; Svenja Keele, University of Melbourne and Anne Kallies, RMIT present a paper on key issues related to state-enabled electricity metering infrastructure at the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) 2018 conference.

The paper argues that we are now in a new era of datarelated urban experimentation where market-led investment in material infrastructure is decoupled from the regulatory risks surrounding the data. Drawing on the case study of the Australian Energy Market Commission market-led roll out of so-called “smart meters” the authors argue that the fundamental claimed benefits such as lower energy bills for consumers, demand side innovation and investment, are unlikely to materialise because of a lack of consumer access to data and services, and unresolved risks surrounding consumer privacy and protections, data ownership, and third party data access.

Chandrashekeran, Keele and Kallies map the relationships between key market and state actors to show how the regulatory risks surrounding data access and security are unevenly distributed to consumers and emerging capital interests, and the substantial benefits from hardware ownership and and guaranteed access to consumption data flow to incumbent energy retailers and large finance capital. 

The 4S conference is held 29 August to 1 September 2018 in Sydney, Australia

More information on the conference, including presenter abstracts, is available at 4s2018sydney.org/ 


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