Privacy-Preserving Power System Obfuscation: A Bilevel Optimization Approach

Terrence W.K. Mak, Ferdinando Fioretto, Lyndon Shi, Pascal Van Hentenryck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


This paper considers the problem of releasing optimal power flow (OPF) test cases that preserve the privacy of customers (loads) using the notion of Differential Privacy. It is motivated by the observation that traditional differential privacy algorithms are not suitable for releasing privacy preserving OPF test cases: The added noise fundamentally changes the nature of the underlying optimization and often leads to test cases with no solutions. To remedy this limitation, the paper introduces the OPF Load Indistinguishability (OLI) problem, which guarantees load privacy while satisfying the OPF constraints and remaining close to the optimal dispatch cost. The paper introduces an exact mechanism, based on bilevel optimization, as well as three mechanisms that approximate the OLI problem accurately. These mechanisms enjoy desirable theoretical properties, and the computational experiments show that they produce orders of magnitude improvements over standard approaches on an extensive collection of test cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8854890
Pages (from-to)1627-1637
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Data privacy
  • optimization
  • power system security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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