On the 29 August 2019, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released its position paper: data access model for energy data. The purpose of the consumer data right (CDR) is to give consumers and authorised third parties direct access to data to enable consumers to make better choices and purchases.

Under s 56AC of Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) the application of the CDR to energy will be achieved by specifying the energy data holders and datasets to which the CDR applies through a designated instrument issued by the relevant Minister. The application of the CDR in energy is the second phase of implementation of the right, the first being its application in the banking sector.

How will it work

Under the CDR, a consumer will be able to engage an accredited data recipient, who could be a competitor provider, a comparison website, or an analytics company. The accredited data recipient will then be able to access that consumer’s data for the purpose agreed with the consumer. Data will be provided to the accredited data recipient for a specific purpose and a specified time (usually 90 days).

The position paper

The ACCC’s position paper sets out the ACCC’s position on its preferred data access model for the consumer data right in the energy sector. In other words, this paper reviewed how the CDR data sets will be made available i.e. the mechanism for provision to accredited data recipients.

There were three models considered:

  • the AEMO centralised model;

Under this model, AEMO would be the sole data holder of a centralised data set including consumer energy data that it currently does not hold under national energy legislation. AEMO would be responsible for providing CDR data directly to accredited data recipients.

  • the AEMO gateway model; and

Under this model AEMO would provide a gateway function, providing CDR data from data holders to accredited data recipients.

The gateway model is further explained below:

  • the economy-wide CDR model.

Under this model, existing data holders would be responsible for providing CDR data directly to accredited data recipients and/or consumers. This is the model used for the implementation of the CDR in the banking sector.

Consultation and position

In considering the models, the ACCC looked at a range of assessment criteria including user functionality, cost-effectiveness, interoperability, security and privacy, flexibility and extensibility.

The ACCC’s position with respect to the preferred model is set out in the extract below:

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