The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) will sit at the centre of the Consumer Data Right (CDR) regime when it arrives in the energy sector, enabling the data access to let consumers more easily compare and switch providers.

CDR is a competition and consumer reform which gives Australians greater access to their personal information, by giving them power to instruct businesses to provide safe and secure access to their data to trusted third parties via APIs.

The data portability scheme will first be implemented in the banking sector, where it is known as Open Banking, and then in the energy and telecommunications sectors.

Today the ACCC selected the AEMO “gateway model” as the preferred data access model for the energy sector. (Further details are outlined in a paper published today.) Under this model, AEMO provides data on consumer’s current electricity arrangements from their current provider to trusted third parties when authorised by the consumer.

The change is designed to make it easier for consumers to find energy plans which best match their usage.

“Sharing information such as a household’s current energy deal and consumption pattern with other energy service providers will enable a consumer to find the best deal for them,” said ACCC commissioner Sarah Court.

“This will enhance transparency and put consumers into the driving seat when it comes to comparing confusing deals, so they can find new and innovative offers that best suit them.”

The ACCC compared three data access models and consulted with stakeholders before reaching its decision.

“The gateway model best balances functionality, cost effectiveness, flexibility and security while also leveraging AEMO’s data and IT expertise. It allows AEMO to facilitate the rollout of the CDR to the energy sector, helping to reduce implementation costs particularly for smaller energy retailers,” Court said.

The flow of consumer data is outlined in the infographic below.

The Consumer Data Right for energy will initially apply to the National Electricity Market (which excludes WA and the Northern Territory) and will be expanded to other energy markets over time.

The ACCC will now develop rules to accommodate energy-specific arrangements, including appropriate authorisation and authentication models.

It is also assisting the Treasury with its work on determining the scope and content of the initial designation instrument for the energy sector and the designation of a gateway. The Treasury are currently consulting on the energy datasets that will be subject to the CDR.

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