The federal government has officially extended the Consumer Data Right regime to cover the energy sector.
In August, parliament passed legislation to implement the CDR, which will allow consumers to obtain access to a selection of data related to their use of services in a sector covered by the new rules.
The aim is to allow households to more easily switch providers or use third party services to analyse the data and potentially provide guidance on getting a better deal. Australia’s new ‘open banking’ regime, which will kick in from February 2020, is the first implementation of the CDR.
Along with energy, telecommunications services will also be covered by the new regime.
The government today launched a new consultation seeking input from stakeholders on the datasets that should be covered by the CDR in order to support energy retail product comparison and switching, as well as more “advanced use cases” such as whether a household would benefit from smart meters, solar, battery storage or switching to more energy efficient appliances.
“Government has not made a decision on what datasets should be designated under the CDR in energy, or who should be obligated to make that data available to customers,” a Treasury consultation paper states.
“This is an initial consultation on the priority datasets that should be designated and will be followed by consultation on the text of the designation instrument at a later date.”
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is in charge of drawing up rules for how the CDR is implemented in a particular sector.
In February the commission launched an initial CDR consultation focused on the energy sector, including potential data access models.
The commission today said today that following the consultation, its preferred model would involve the Australian Energy Market Operator acting as a central gateway to CDR data. (Another model considered by the ACCC would have involved AEMO actually holding CDR data.)
“The gateway model best balances functionality, cost effectiveness, flexibility and security while also leveraging AEMO’s data and IT expertise,” said ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court. “It allows AEMO to facilitate the rollout of the CDR to the energy sector, helping to reduce implementation costs particularly for smaller energy retailers.”
During the ACCC’s consultation the model drew support from EnergyAustralia, which said the AEMO gateway approach “has the potential to be customer centric, allowing for a streamlined experience and avoiding unnecessary customer interaction” as well as cost effective.
AGL strongly opposed the possibility floated by the ACCC of AEMO holding CDR data in its own right, but said other options, including the gateway model, required further analysis before it could take a position.
Origin Energy said it “in principle” supported the gateway model, although said there were key issues that required additional consideration, such as the development of a cost efficient and streamlined process for authentication.
The ACCC is now working on specific rules for the energy sector, including access and authentication models.