The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Treasury have been progressing policy work on the implementation of the Consumer Data Right (CDR) in the energy sector. In this update we respond to some frequently asked questions relating to the energy CDR.

  1. What is the CDR?

The CDR gives individuals and businesses a right to access specified data in relation to them held by businesses; and to authorise accredited third parties to access this data. The CDR is being rolled out sector by sector, beginning with the banking sector, then progressing to the energy and telecommunications sectors. For more general information on the CDR click here and here.

The CDR is being implemented through a complex combination of legislation, rules, ministerial designations and data standards. The ACCC, the Treasury, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and the Data Standards Body (Data61) all have key roles in its development and implementation.

The ACCC recently released a position paper setting out in broad terms its proposal for implementing the CDR in the energy sector. In addition, the Treasury has just consulted on the types of data that are to be contained in the energy CDR. [1]

  1. How is it proposed that the CDR be applied to the energy sector?

After consulting on several models for applying the CDR to the energy sector, the ACCC has decided on the ‘AEMO gateway model’. This model provides that the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) will have a gateway function, providing CDR data from data holders (which will include retailers and potentially distributors) to accredited data recipients (ADRs). AEMO may also be a data holder providing CDR data directly to ADRs.

Currently, only an energy CDR for electricity data is proposed (i.e. no gas at this stage). In addition, it is not currently proposed that the energy CDR be applied to embedded networks. Stakeholders should expect the CDR to be extended in those directions in future, however.

  1. Which data will be contained in the dataset?

The Treasury has proposed the following datasets:

  • National Metering Identifier (NMI) standing data fields. This is data currently held by AEMO which specifies the nature of a connection point and includes such fields as ‘Average Daily Load’(ADL), Network Tariff Codes and Metering installation types;
  • Metering data. This is the electricity consumption data that is processed through AEMO’s market systems;
  • Customer provided data. This is personal data relating to the customer held by the retailer such as a customer’s full name, email address, phone number and date of birth;
  • Billing data. Historical information on how much the customer has been charged over a period and their payment patterns;
  • Retail product data. This is information relating to the specific tariffs that customers are on and may include general and restricted plan data;
  • Distributed Energy Resource register data. This new register contains information relating to distributed energy devices including small scale battery storage systems, and rooftop solar PV.
  1. Who will be a data holder?

This is still not entirely clear. At this stage it looks as though only market retailers in the National Electricity Market jurisdictions (i.e. Queensland, NSW, ACT, Tasmania, SA and Victoria), the AEMO, and potentially distributors, will be ‘data holders’. This means that participation in the CDR will not be mandatory for authorised or licensed retailers that supply energy exclusively in embedded networks. Nor will be it be mandatory for a range of other energy suppliers such as exempt sellers, ‘behind-the-meter’ solar retailers and suppliers in micro-grids. Some of these parties may wish to become ADRs, however. See below.

  1. Who will be able to become an ADR?

A range of energy businesses may be interested in becoming an ADR. As well as retailers and distributors, exempt sellers, brokers, and metering co-ordinators, among others [2] may have an interest in accessing this data. The criteria for becoming an ADR will be set out in modified CDR rules yet to be established for the energy sector. However, we can look at those rules that have already been established for the banking sector to get some idea what the criteria for accreditation will be. It is likely to include satisfying requirements in relation to:

  • Being a ‘Fit and proper person’;
  • Information security;
  • Dispute Resolution processes; and
  • [3]
  1. What is the timeline for implementation?

Originally it was planned for the CDR to come into effect in the energy sector in the first half of 2020. However, with many aspects of the energy CDR still to be finalised, this has been pushed back. ACCC has committed to releasing an energy CDR implementation timetable to stakeholders later in 2019.

[1] See https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/ACCC%20-%20CDR%20-%20energy%20-%20data%20access%20models%20position%20paper%20-%20August%202019.pdf and https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-08/c2019-t397812.pdf.

[2] Large Customers are permitted to appoint their own metering co-ordinators.

[3] See https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/CDR%20draft%20accreditation%20guidelines.pdf.

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