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Open Energy in Australia

Energy is changing in Australia. Find out what open energy is and how it affects you.

With open banking currently being rolled out in Australia, next up on the government's agenda is open energy. Driven by the Consumer Data Right legislation, open energy will give you control over your energy data and make it easier than ever to find better deals and switch energy plans. Here is what you need to know about the new data rules.

What is open energy?

The market for energy in Australia is complex, and there are lots of organisations out there that hold data about the way you use energy. Open energy will give you access to this data for the first time.

The current state of energy for consumers

Right now, even if you're the shrewdest Australian, it's difficult to work out the best energy plan for you as this can depend on a number of things, such as how much energy you use, when you use it, what type of meter is in your house and whether you have solar panels installed.

Even with your most recent energy bill to hand, it is hard to estimate your energy usage for the whole year as this can change drastically from season to season.

How open energy changes this

The data made available through open energy will change this by giving you a full picture of your energy usage, which you can share with comparison sites, energy retailers and other authorised organisations to help you find better deals. The whole scheme will also be "opt-in", meaning you have full control over who you share your data with and how it is used.

When will I be able to access my energy data?

It does look likely that we will see open energy become a reality at some point in 2020.

The Consumer Data Right (CDR) legislation that sits behind open energy passed through Parliament in August 2019.

The Treasury and the ACCC are busy implementing the first instance of CDR, which will lead to open banking, but they have stated that energy will be next.

The timeline is still not completely clear with the ACCC saying it will formalise this before the end of 2019. It does look likely that we will see open energy become a reality at some point in 2020.

What types of data will be available under open energy?

The exact data types are still being finalised, but an initial consultation paper from the Treasury has suggested six types of data that it thinks should be made available under open energy:

  1. National Metering Identifier (NMI) standing field data. This is data held about your meter on the central national metering database. This includes information like the type of meter you have installed, your tariff code and your average daily consumption.
  2. Metering data. This is the energy consumption information that is recorded by your meter. The format will vary, but it provides a detailed account of how much energy you have used and when you used it.
  3. Customer provided data. This is the information that you have provided to a company in the energy market. This could include your name, address, contact details, date of birth and billing details.
  4. Billing data. This is information about what you have been paying for your energy over time. This data will generally be held by the retailer that you have been paying your electricity bills too and will help you to assess whether you could save money by switching plans.
  5. Retail product data. This is information about all of the different energy plans available in the market. This includes things like tariffs, usage charges and discounts. This dataset will also provide the information needed to understand if you're eligible for each plan.
  6. Distributed Energy Resource register data. Distributed energy resources are things like solar panels and home batteries that generate or store electricity at your home. This dataset will provide information about what technology is installed at your home and allow you to share this with accredited parties.

Which organisations can I send my data to and from?

The companies that hold these datasets will be required to share the data points above at some point in the future. There will be an ongoing accreditation process for companies that receive the data made available under open energy to ensure that all parties will adhere to the security standards set by the government.

How much will open energy cost me?

Accessing and sharing the data made available under open energy in Australia will be free.

What's an example of how open energy will work in Australia?

The big goal for open energy is to make finding the better energy plans for you easier than ever. If this is achieved, then the hope is that this will lead to increased competition in the energy sector as more people switch to the best-priced plans on the market.

As a working example, let's imagine that open energy is live and Finder is an accredited data recipient. In this world, you would be able to send us your relevant energy data including your usage and billing data. This, combined with the accurate product data also available under open energy, would allow us to help you find a better deal on your energy plan and give you an estimation for how much money this could save you across the next year. In this scenario, the hard work is done for you so choosing a great deal that saves you money would be as simple as a few clicks.

So what's next for open energy?

The Data Standards Body has launched the Energy Advisory Committee to advise on the next phase of open energy. The Committee has 14 members from a variety of backgrounds who will provide expert advice to the Data Standards Body on the best way to encourage data sharing in the energy sector. The members of the Energy Advisory Committee announced in November 2019 are:

  • Frank Restuccia, Co-founder, Finder
  • Aakash Sembey, Industry Regulations Manager, Simply Energy
  • Ben Johnson, Development Manager, ERM Power
  • David Havyatt, Senior Economist, CEO Secretariat, Energy Consumers Australia
  • Dayle Stevens, Chief Data Officer, AGL
  • Edwin Shaw, Head of ICT, Ausgrid
  • Jan Prichard, General Manager, Customer Care, Origin Energy Limited
  • Joanna Gurry, Chief Data Officer, NBN Co
  • Joe Locandro, Chief Digital Officer, Australian Energy Market Operator
  • Lauren Solomon, Chief Executive Officer, Consumer Policy Research Centre
  • Lisa Schutz, Managing Director, Verifier
  • Peter Giles, Product Manager, CHOICE
  • Spiz Dimopoulos, General Manager, Analytics and Insights, Energy Australia
  • Van Le, Co-founder and Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, Xinja

The Advisory Committee will meet monthly, with locations varying between Sydney and Melbourne. Meeting
minutes will be published on the Data Standards Body website.

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