Privacy protection via joint real and reactive load shaping in smart grids

Cihan Emre Kement*, Marija Ilić, Hakan Gultekin, Cihan Tugrul Cicek, Bulent Tavli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Frequent metering of electricity consumption is crucial for demand-side management in smart grids. However, metered data can be processed fairly easily by employing well-established nonintrusive appliance load monitoring techniques to infer appliance usage, which reveals information about consumers’ private lives. Existing load shaping techniques for privacy primarily focus only on altering metered real power, whereas smart meters collect reactive power consumption data as well for various purposes. This study addresses consumer privacy preservation via load shaping in a demand response scheme, considering both real and reactive power. We build a multi-objective optimization framework that enables us to characterize the interplay between privacy maximization, user cost minimization, and user discomfort minimization objectives. Our results reveal that minimizing information leakage due to a single component, e.g., real power, would suffer from overlooking information leakage due to the other component, e.g., reactive power, causing sub-optimal decisions. In fact, joint shaping of real and reactive power components results in the best possible privacy preservation performance, which leads to more than a twofold increase in privacy in terms of mutual information.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100794
JournalSustainable Energy, Grids and Networks
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Demand shaping
  • Load shaping
  • Multi-objective optimization
  • Privacy
  • Reactive power
  • Smart metering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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