“Don’t Forget Us!”, Energy Sector Urges Consumer Data Right Committee To Be Mindful

Energy provider, AGL and the Australian Energy Council have made a public statement reminding the Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology that the energy sector is vastly different to the financial sector, as the committee continues its inquiry ahead of possible changes to Consumer Data Right - CDR - regulations.

A report from ZDNET states that AGL and the energy council are “ask[ing] the committe to be careful in recommending changes to the Consumer Data Right without being mindful of the impact to other industries, such as [the] energy [sector].”

In a submission to the committee, AGL wrote in a submission that can be accessed here that while the company “welcomes the opportunity to provide comment to the Select Committe... the issues paper is focussed on opportunities and barriers for fintech and regtech generally, we would caution the committee against any changes to the CDR for this purpose without proper evaluation on how it will impact the operation of the CDR from a consumer perspective.”

“A rushed process will only lead to sub-optimal results for customers.” Australian Energy Council.

“This will allow decision-makers to identify any unintended consequences that may impact or inhibit consumer engagement and trust in the framework,” AGL added.

According to Asha Barbaschow, “AGL asked the committee to remember the ‘customer-centric purpose’ of the CDR in considering fintech and regtech-favoring changes to the legislation.”

AGL concluded its submission stating that “as the CDR rolls out into other sectors of the economy, accredited data recipients, including fintechs, will be able to harness the benefits of economies of scale through diverse data access,” urging the committee to consider the industry on equal-pegging as both the financial and regulatory industries.

The Energy Council’s submission - which is accessible here - struck a similar tone, stating outright that it supports the CDR in the energy sector and economy as a whole, noting that it has the potential to increase competition and “empower customers to make more informed choices.”

The council continued to explain that “For the fintech industry, the CDR provides an immense opportunity to provide more innovative products and services that improve the customer experience. Improving the customer experience is a principal objective of the CDR and this should be reflected in any recommendation the Select Committee publishes.”

Financial institutions are set to be the first to have CDR legislation applied, while telecom companies and the energy sector are soon to follow.

“The ACCC is now in the process of developing the rules that will govern the application of the CDR in energy. These rules will regulate areas of importance to the fintech industry, such as the customer authentication framework and obligations on data holders and accredited parties,” the Energy Council continued to explain.

“We urge the Select Committee to be mindful of these rules when making any recommendations about the CDR and fintech industry, to the extent that they might impact on the energy industry.”

“This phased approach is in place to provide regulators and industry with certainty going forward and to allocate resources accordingly,” the Energy Council said, adding that “a rushed process will only lead to sup-optimal results for customers.”

ZDNET reports that “the now-delayed CDR, through the Treasury Laws Amendment (Consumer Data Right) Bill, allows individuals to ‘own’ their data by granting them open access to their banking, energy, phone and internet transactions, in addition to gaining the right to control who can have it and who can use it.”

According to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s statement, “The Consumer Data Right (CDR) aims to provide greater choice and control for Australians over how their data is used and disclosed. It will allow consumers to access particular data in a usable form and to direct a business to securely transfer that data to an accredited data recipient.”

“The security and integrity of the CDR system will be maintained by 13 Privacy Safeguards, which are contained in the legislation and will be supplemented by rules. These will set out the privacy rights and obligations for users of the scheme, including the requirement for informed consent to collect, disclose, hold or use CDR data.”

“Individual consumers and small, medium and large business customers will all be able to exercise the Consumer Data Right in relation to data that is covered by the CDR scheme.”

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