IT Brief Australia logo
Technology news for Australia's largest enterprises
Story image

How Australia's energy market can be a case study for data rights

By Contributor
Wed 13 Feb 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Article by Giovanni Polizzi, energy solutions manager, Indra Australia

Five years in the making - and now after the first year of full use - it is clear that Australia's Power of Choice reforms aren't working quite as they were intended.

Part of this is because Power of Choice was ahead of its time, offering Australian energy consumers a chance to own their consumption data and decide who else could use it for purposes such as managing bills or changing providers.

The same rights are now set to be conferred on consumers for their banking and telecommunications data as well as energy data, under a newer initiative called the consumer data right.

In other words, two more industries are set to go through what the Australian energy market has over the past six years, albeit in a vastly truncated timeframe.

They have an opportunity to learn from the energy experience, but equally, the energy industry should use the consumer data right as an opportunity to rethink and redo key parts of our own approach to the same information exchange challenge - because it remains a challenge for us.

Lesson one: Data portability is hard

In the first year of its operation, while we have seen that customers in more states and territories have smart electricity meters and access to and rights over the use of the data the meters generate, bottlenecks have emerged.

For example, Power of Choice should have made it easy for consumers to switch to a new electricity retailer.

In theory, if the consumer switches retailers, the new retailer communicates the change to all interested parties – the incumbent retailer, the metering agent and eventually the new metering agent as chosen by the retailer.

The incumbent retailer agrees with the existing metering agent over a final meter reading on the last day of their contract, to issue the final bill. The new retailer then starts to calculate consumption from this last reading.

That sounds straightforward, but in practical terms, that kind of information exchange is hard.

So far, we have seen errors and delays that can run into weeks, and there are substantial costs associated with that.

The data exchange isn't fully automated and as such is prone to human error (or worse). Numerous cases have been registered where customers were wrongly assigned to a new retailer, either by mistake or by the misconduct of marketers, and have incurred significant grief trying to restore their previous contract and energy supply.

Participants across the energy value chain also aren't seeing the benefits of all this new data because it is not easy to get permission to use it. That means providers aren't able to harness data when they develop new energy services and products.

The same data on how consumers use energy could, at an aggregate level, be very valuable to improve customer service, the operation of the distribution networks and to generate energy more efficiently. Again, these potential benefits are withheld when the data is hard to get.

Thus the entire system would benefit from a simpler and wider means of accessing data than that which exists today.

Lesson two: Five years is a long time

Since the energy sector came up with a way to implement Power of Choice, technology options and best practice approaches have changed.

While that's to be expected in a project run over so many years, it is clear that newer approaches could benefit the industry in key areas where the current information exchange model falls short.

There are clearly structural, workflow and trust issues at play with the current model, where all consumer data is brought into a central database called B2B eHub that is operated by regulator AEMO. Market participants connect with each other through the eHub in order to exchange data.

An alternative to the centralised eHub - and one which is currently being studied by a range of participants - could be a permissioned blockchain platform.

Blockchain is undergoing pilots in a range of critical infrastructure industries.

The technology is on track to underpin registry, settlement and clearing of funds by the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), a project considered a breakthrough that shows the technology's credentials and potential.

Closer to 'home' - at least for our industry - BP, Shell and Statoil are joining banks and trading houses on a blockchain to improve trust and cut costs in oil trading transactions.

There is no reason why blockchain could not similarly underpin and transform the way all parties in the energy market communicate and exchange data.

Arguably, a permissioned blockchain platform to store and share energy consumption data of electricity customers in the Australian National Electricity Market (NEM) would bring about benefits for customers, the regulator and the entire energy sector.

Through the blockchain, customers would be responsible for their own data and for granting access to third parties, without any centralised authority accountable to route these requests.

Lesson three: There's still time to get it right

Through Power of Choice, Australia's energy industry became the pioneer of the consumer data right.

But to maintain that pioneer status, we cannot afford to treat this as a 'point in time' project. The sector must build on what it's accomplished to date, and initiate change where a need still exists.

There is clearly a need to rethink how electricity consumption information is exchanged. New approaches hold promise, and both the government and industry owe it to consumers to properly explore these new options if it means getting Power of Choice right.

The sector has come a long way in the past six years. Let's ensure that effort is not wasted.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Customer experience
Phone, internet complaints increase for first time in five quarters
Phone, internet complaints increase for the first time in five quarters, according to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman's Quarter Three Complaints Report.
Story image
Consumer relationships with digital services continues to change
Two years of pandemic-induced reliance on technology for work has altered our relationship with digital apps and services, new research has found.
Story image
Check Point
Check Point and CCTV expert join forces to boost protection
The partnership will involve Check Point Quantum IoT Protect Nano Agent being embedded in Provision-ISR’s CCTV cameras for on-device runtime protection.
Story image
Red Sift
Entrust expands strategic partnership with Red Sift
Entrust has expanded its strategic partnership with Red Sift to make it easier for businesses to adopt Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) standards for email identification and security.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Frost & Sullivan recognises Genesys as leader in new reports
Frost & Sullivan has recognised Genesys as a leader in the cloud contact centre market for its robust cloud and digital capabilities.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Gartner reveals top three tech trends for banks this year
Gartner says generative artificial intelligence, autonomic systems and privacy-enhancing computation are gaining traction in banking and investment services.
Story image
Cybersecurity prompts upgrade for 1.3 billion electricity meters
ABI Research finds Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and cybersecurity concerns are prompting the upgrade of 1.3 billion electricity meters by 2027.
Story image
Digital Marketing
Similarweb acquires SEO and rank tracking company Rank Ranger
Digital intelligence company Similarweb, which specialises in analysing web traffic, has acquired Rank Ranger, a market leader in SEO and rank tracking.
Story image
Digital Marketing
Getty Images delves into the world of NFTs with Candy Digital
Getty Images and Candy Digital, the next-generation digital collectible company, have announced a new multi-year partnership agreement.
Story image
Silver Peak
The path to an adaptive, modern network
Managing and securing the network looks different than it did just two years ago—especially given that most of these networks are made up of multi-generations of infrastructure stitched together over time.
Story image
MEC spending for private cellular networks to reach $5.8b
A new ABI Research report finds the revenue for Multi Access Edge Compute (MEC) deployments for private cellular networks will reach USD$5.8 billion by 2030.
Story image
Equinix announces milestones on sustainability commitments
Equinix has released its 2021 Sustainability Report which outlines progress, innovation and accomplishments on key ESG commitments.
Story image
Infosec unveils role-guided cybersecurity training roadmaps
Infosec Skills Roles maps hands-on training and certifications to the 12 most in-demand cybersecurity roles to maximise training efficiency.
Story image
Comcast to use ThreatQuotient for cybersecurity operations
Comcast, the parent company of NBC Universal and SKY Group, has chosen ThreatQ Platform and ThreatQ Investigations to meet their cybersecurity needs.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
Barracuda expands cloud-native SASE platform
"The expansion of Barracuda's cloud-native SASE platform for hybrid deployment models and IIoT environments solves a number of challenges."
Story image
Vectra AI
Vectra’s inaugural Partner of the Year Awards revealed
APAC companies Baidam, Firmus, ShellSoft and Macnica have been recognised in Vectra AI's inaugural Partner of the Year Awards.
Story image
Women in Technology
Huawei webinar emphasises the importance of women in tech
Industry findings by Coursera discussed as part of a webinar jointly organised by Huawei and Reuters Events found 6% more women enrolled in tech courses this year than in 2021.
Story image
Cyber attacks
Devastating cyber attacks expected to hit energy sector
Energy executives anticipate life, property, and environment-compromising cyber attacks on the sector within the next two years.
Story image
GapMaps Live to improve brand decisions on physical locations
GapMaps has released its latest service GapMaps Live, giving more insights and features to help brands make better decisions about physical locations.
Story image
New Relic
New Relic launches vulnerability management platform
New Relic has introduced New Relic Vulnerability Management to help organisations find and address security risks faster and with greater precision.
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
SoftIron named global leader for efficient DC infrastructure solutions
SoftIron has been named a global leader for supplying energy-efficient data infrastructure solutions for core-to-edge data centers after an assessment by Earth Capital Ltd.
Story image
Aligned Data Centers increases sustainability-linked loan
Aligned Data Centers has increased its sustainability-linked loan from $375 million to $1.75 billion to speed up the next phase of its strategic growth.
Story image
Manhattan Associates
Shortening the click-to-customer cycle through smart technologies
Speed of delivery without accuracy is a dealbreaker for consumers. How can retailers operating in an omnichannel environment overcome the challenge of click-to-customer cycle times.
Story image
Sysdig unveils new Kubernetes troubleshooting and cloud innovations
Sysdig has introduced two new innovations that look to help bolster cloud services and simplify Kubernetes troubleshooting.
Story image
Alteryx releases updates, empowers data insights for enterprise
Alteryx has released new advancements designed to aid enterprises with cloud analytics, democratise insights and ensure data governance.
Story image
Skills shortages hold orgs back from capitalising on cloud 2.0
Organisations are becoming more comfortable with sophisticated 'cloud 2.0' technologies, even as they confront difficulties in hiring and retaining IT talent.
Story image
MailGuard warns of new scam targeting Telstra customers
Telstra customers in Australia are being warned of a new scam involving "Unsuccessful Payment" messages.
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
Multi Cloud
Red Hat updates dev tools, empowers use of hybrid and multicloud
Red Hat has unveiled updates across its portfolio of developer tools, designed to help organisations build and deliver applications faster.
Story image
SPS network now available to CrescoData eCommerce customers
CrescoData, a Pitney Bowes Company and PaaS business in the commerce space, says its customers can now connect to the SPS Commerce Retail Network.
Story image
Let’s clear the cloud visibility haze with app awareness
Increasingly, organisations are heading for the cloud, initiating new born-in-the-cloud architectures and migrating existing applications via ‘lift and shift’ or refactoring.
Story image
Managed service provider
Barracuda MSP Day 2022 highlights MSP opportunities
Barracuda Networks has released a report showing global services-related MSP revenue is set to increase by more than a third in 2022 compared to 2021.
Story image
Boost Mobile
Boost Mobile now makes up over 7% of Aussie prepaid market
Boost Mobile has doubled its market share over the past four years and now has more than 7% of Australia's prepaid market, equivalent to over 700,000 people.
Story image
Digital Signage
MAXHUB's Digital Signage range to bolster boardroom productivity
The new MAXHUB Digital Signage technology is purpose-built to make every kind of team meeting more effective.
Story image
Fastly acquires Glitch, enables faster developer innovation
"This acquisition brings together two of the worlds best ecosystems for application development into a single, seamless developer experience."
Story image
NetApp launches Spot PC, a new Desktop-as-a-Service solution
This is a new managed cloud DaaS solution with security, automation, observability and optimisation capabilities, designed for the needs of today.
Story image
Trojan cyber attacks hitting SMBs harder than ever - Kaspersky
In 2022 the number of Trojan-PSW detections increased by almost a quarter compared to the same period in 2021 to reach 4,003,323.
Story image
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
The most common online scams in Australia
No one is safe from online scammers, and many of these scammers have capitalised on the pandemic, using this confusing time to attack more people than ever.
Story image
Data Protection
Information management capabilities to meet privacy requirements
Organisations with customers or operations across more than one country face a spate of new and proposed privacy and data protection laws.
Story image
Tech job moves - Forcepoint, Malwarebytes, SolarWinds & VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 13-20, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Vectra AI
Understanding the weight on security leader’s shoulders, and how to shift it
Millions of dollars of government funding and internal budgets are being funnelled into cybersecurity to build resilience against sophisticated threats, indicating how serious this issue has become.
Story image
Australian space tech startup secures SpaceX support
Space Machines Company has secured the support of SpaceX as a launch partner in carrying SMC's Optimus Orbital Transfer Vehicle to space next year.