Differentially Private Optimal Power Flow for Distribution Grids

Vladimir Dvorkin, Ferdinando Fioretto, Pascal Van Hentenryck, Pierre Pinson, Jalal Kazempour

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Although distribution grid customers are obliged to share their consumption data with distribution system operators (DSOs), a possible leakage of this data is often disregarded in operational routines of DSOs. This paper introduces a privacy-preserving optimal power flow (OPF) mechanism for distribution grids that secures customer privacy from unauthorised access to OPF solutions, e.g., current and voltage measurements. The mechanism is based on the framework of differential privacy that allows to control the participation risks of individuals in a dataset by applying a carefully calibrated noise to the output of a computation. Unlike existing private mechanisms, this mechanism does not apply the noise to the optimization parameters or its result. Instead, it optimizes OPF variables as affine functions of the random noise, which weakens the correlation between the grid loads and OPF variables. To ensure feasibility of the randomized OPF solution, the mechanism makes use of chance constraints enforced on the grid limits. The mechanism is further extended to control the optimality loss induced by the random noise, as well as the variance of OPF variables. The paper shows that the differentially private OPF solution does not leak customer loads up to specified parameters.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Systems
Issue number3
Pages (from-to) 2186 - 2196
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Data obfuscation
  • Optimization methods
  • Privacy


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