The new Consumer Data Right (CDR) that will apply to the energy sector, heralds an interesting time in the sector. Now is the ideal time for energy sector participants to consider how the CDR should be implemented so that it is tailored to provide an efficient mechanism and delivers the right outcomes to consumers.
With a preliminary consultation completed by the ACCC, a gateway model has been canvassed and appears to be the preferred model for accessing and sharing consumer data in this sector. While other features of the CDR will be discussed and confirmed over the coming months or year, energy sector participants and other interested stakeholders, including consumer groups, should get involved now, so as to consider the design of the energy CDR framework.
Australia’s CDR framework has been developed to provide consumers with greater control of their data.
View our summary of key developments to Australia’s CDR (PDF 58.4KB).
The purpose of the CDR is to facilitate the simple sharing of consumer data, enable consumers to make better choices and to foster competition in the applicable sector. Particular to the energy sector, the energy CDR will offer consumers access to data which can be used to gain access to innovative services and products and to source better deals based on their energy consumption data.
The energy CDR will differ from the banking CDR given the way the energy market is regulated, the broad range of participants and data holders and, most importantly, the needs of consumers. A successful CDR will need to provide a trusted framework to maximise consumer adoption. The model applied in the energy sector will, ideally, work efficiently with the current operational and technological environment of energy sector participants and enable the secure and efficient ability to access this data.
A majority of the participants who responded to the ACCC’s consultation voted in favour of the gateway model. Consumers would access their data through the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), which will facilitate the exchange of data between organisations who hold data and organisations who receive data. This proposed model is different to the banking CDR, where data holders will be responsible for sharing CDR data directly with accredited data recipients and consumers.
Once a model has been agreed, there are still many decisions that will need to be made which will impact consumers and participants.
There are also unique issues to solve for the energy CDR. For example, given that it will not only be the account holder who will want to access the energy consumption data, how will their rights be accommodated?
The challenge is to design a system that takes the best of the open banking regime, but also adapts to address what needs to be different to achieve the objectives of the CDR in the energy sector. There will also be a need to balance these unique requirements against the benefits and efficiencies obtained by having a consistent framework across the CDR regime in all sectors.
We should not forget that the CDR regime is designed to help consumers. There will need to be rules that apply to the accredited data recipients to ensure consumers can be confident that they are accessing their data appropriately and that the consent mechanisms are clear. We can expect that the safeguards that are in place for open banking will generally apply to this sector.
Rules will also be developed to ensure data recipients operate their services in a positive and professional manner. If not enough attention is given to this matter, the ultimate goal of the CDR might not be achieved. Consumers may be confused with what to do or may be directed towards inappropriate products.
Energy sector participants should continue to assess how the CDR will affect their operations and what suggestions should be made to its framework. Getting involved at this stage of the process will hopefully ensure that the CDR regime can provide an efficient framework that is trusted, and used, by consumers.
The ACCC expects to finalise its position on the preferred data access model this month, although this could be affected by the Federal election. The ACCC then plans to work on and discuss consent and authentication arrangements, the applicable rules and standards and the external dispute resolution process.
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