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Midata is a method of electronically transferring customers’ data (with their consent), from a company system to a third party or price comparison website (PCW) using an Application Programming Interface (API). For an energy consumer, this means that they can use an application (app) or website developed by a PCW to compare energy tariffs using the actual usage/account details held by their current supplier. Midata makes comparing tariffs quicker and easier and enables more accurate comparisons. Midata also allows energy suppliers to develop customer acquisition tools, including apps, so customers can switch to a supplier without a PCW or Third Party Intermediary (TPI).
The government took powers in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 that would allow it to mandate third party electronic access to customers’ data in regulated sectors, including energy.
The government has developed a draft technical specification with the energy sector. There are, however, a number of practical implementation issues to consider in taking this forward. These include:
- how to derive maximise benefit for consumers;
- how to ensure the quality of customer data suppliers provide;
- who can access the data, and;
- what safeguards should be in place to protect customers’ data from misuse.
Responses to this call for evidence will be used to inform draft regulations.