Australia’s data portability scheme will be applied to the energy sector within a year under the latest government rule changes, announced Friday.
From October 2022, energy providers will be required to share product information in a machine-readable way, and a month later will need to give consumers access to their data in the same format.
The moves are an attempt to improve competition and innovation in the energy market by giving consumers more control over their data, and follow the same approach in the banking sector and several years of consultations for the energy sector.
Digital Economy Minister Jane Hume announced on Friday the government had released amendments to the rules of Australia’s Consumer Data Right (CDR), a data sharing scheme currently being rolled out in the banking sector and expected to eventually apply economy wide. It follows a short consultation period with the sector on the changes in August.
“With increased consumer mobility, energy retailers will be encouraged to improve tailoring of services and create better consumer experiences to retain their customers,” Ms Hume said.
“I’m excited to see this expansion of the CDR across the economy, with telecommunications as the next sector under consideration.”
The fourth version of the rules bring CDR to the energy sector, which has been on notice since early 2018 about the government’s intention to apply the data sharing scheme to the sector.
From October next year, energy retailers will be required to share their product information via APIs. This will allow better comparison tools to be used by consumers and businesses, helping them to select more valuable plans.
From November 2022, energy companies will need to provide consumers with access to their usage and connection data in the same way, according to the latest announcement. With consumers’ permission, the energy companies would provide the information to a third party like a fintech or comparison service, helping consumers understand their usage and potentially shop around for better deals.
The same principles and staged roll out have been applied to Australia’s banking system, with the introduction of CDR last year.
The data sharing scheme is being opened up by the government to attract more providers and consumers, following a stuttered roll out and several temporary exemptions from participation in the banking roll out of CDR.
Treasury has also been consulting with the telecommunications sector about its application of CDR. The government has flagged adding a new sector to CDR each year and eventually wants it applied economy wide.
May’s budget included $111.3 million to “accelerate” the rollout of the CDR, following frustrations over slow progress in the banking sector.
Senator Hume has flagged “hyper tailored” retirement plans based on various CDR data sources from different sectors as one of the more advanced use cases in a mature system.
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