Data Standards Body establishes Energy Advisory Committee ahead of Consumer Data Right mandate

Fourteen initial members have been appointed to the committee for 12 months.

Individuals from Energy Australia, NBN, Xinja, Ausgrid, and AGL are among those who have been named as initial members of the newly announced Energy Advisory Committee.

The Data Standards Body said the appointment of 14 members to the Energy Advisory Committee forms part of next steps of the Australian government's Consumer Data Right (CDR), which was officially extended to include the energy sector in August.

It said the members will provide "strategic counsel and expert advice" to the Data Standards Body's independent chair Andrew Stevens on "key issues in the development and implementation of technical standards to support consumer data sharing, specific to the energy sector".

The initial members of the advisory committee, who will be appointed for 12 months, were chosen following a public call for individuals from sectors including energy, finance, and consumer groups to be nominated.

The individuals that were chosen include: Energy Australia Analytics and Insights general manager Spiz Dimopoulos; Choice product manager Peter Giles; NBN chief data officer Joanna Gurry; Energy Consumers Australia CEO Secretariat senior economist David Havyatt; ERM Power development manager Ben Johnson; Xinja co-founder and chief strategy and innovation officer Van Le; Australian Energy Market Operator chief digital officer Joe Locandro; Origin Energy Customer Care general manager Jan Prichard; Finder co-founder Frank Restuccia; Verifier managing director Lisa Schutz; Simply Energy Industry Regulations manager Aakash Sembey; Ausgrid ICT head Edwin Shaw; Consumer Policy Research Centre CEO Lauren Solomon; and AGL chief data officer Dayle Stevens.

The advisory committee is expected to meet monthly in either Sydney or Melbourne.

Read more: Rules drafted on how to access data under Consumer Data Right  

The Australian government came to the decision to extend the CDR to energy as it wanted to provide consumers with greater access to their personal data, so consumers could compare and easily switch between energy providers.

Until September 26, the federal government had been seeking feedback on the datasets and data access model that would apply to the energy sector when the CDR would extend to energy.

According to Treasury, the feedback is being used to establish a framework to help consumers find and switch between energy deals, to incentivise greater competition between energy retailers, and deliver new retail products to help consumers better manage their energy use.

In addition, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC), which was tasked with implementing the CDR, is now developing rules to accommodate energy-specific arrangements, including appropriate authorisation and authentication models. The ACCC will continue to consult with stakeholders on the next stages of development for the CDR.

The ACCC announced in February that energy data would join the CDR mandate in early 2020.  

The CDR for energy will initially apply to the National Electricity Market, which excludes Western Australia and the Northern Territory, before it's expanded to other energy markets over time.

The extension of the CDR to energy comes as the policy was officially applied to the banking sector in July under the open banking regime. Under this mandate, from February 2020, ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank, NAB, and Westpac will be required to give consumers greater access to the information they hold on consumers; and the power to require those banks to provide safe and secure access to that information to trusted third parties.

This is despite the fact the ACCC had revealed earlier this year it was unsure how banks could provide consumers with their data, but took a red marker to the calendar to say ANZ, CBA, NAB, and Westpac needed to make consumer data available on credit and debit card, deposit, and transaction accounts, at minimum, by the start of the 2020 financial year.

It was only in March, when the ACCC released a draft document detailing the rules that would guide the implementation of the CDR, did it become clearer as to how the CDR would function. 

Prior to the release of the guidelines, the Australian Privacy Foundation said the CDR privacy safeguards were not sufficient, and that the government had "severely" underestimated the need for more thought across the entire legislative change.

Meanwhile, the Communications Alliance has been concerned that the legislation will not be overly applicable to industries other than banking, and that the rushed through process will result in a disjointed framework that is not well thought out.

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