New systems are being developed to make it easier and quicker to switch energy providers.
The systems will allow energy consumption data and costs to be automatically transferred between suppliers and switching companies (with the consent of customers), making it much easier for people to get and compare quotes from energy suppliers and get the best deal possible.
This will make it faster for people to switch energy suppliers. It will also give people information about how and when they use energy, and help them to identify ways to reduce consumption and the cost of bills.
The energy sector has led the way on data sharing and significant voluntary progress has been made - customers of the largest suppliers can already download their data electronically.
Automated access to these data files by customers or third parties with consumers’ permission, is the next logical step. It will be an important stepping stone to more engagement for consumers through smart meters, which will give them direct access to their consumption data which they can then share directly with trusted third parties.
The development of these new systems was discussed at a Midata meeting last week, where the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey, and BIS Minister, Jenny Willott, met with energy suppliers and switching companies, as well as Ofgem, consumer groups and app developers.
An implementation group has been set-up to move forward the development of these systems as quickly as possible. The group will report back to ministers on its progress by September.
Further detail on the Midata project
The Midata project works with businesses to give consumers better access to the electronic personal data that companies hold about them.
All parties agreed to take forward the Midata project by focusing on:
The importance of providing consumers and trusted third parties (with consumers’ permission) with secure automated access to the correct data from their energy suppliers, allowing them to make more informed choices including switching, energy efficiency, access to government support and identifying ways to cut their bills;
Taking forward this project through an implementation group which will identify barriers, develop options and solutions, and;
Making tangible progress on an implementation timetable to be reported back at a second roundtable in September.
Last Wednesday’s agreement on the collective desire to make progress with automated access is an important milestone for consumer empowerment and shows the benefits of collaborative working by all stakeholders in the energy sector.
The organisations present at the Midata meeting included:
- British Gas
- Citizens Advice
- Connected Digital Economy Catapult
- Cornwall Energy
- EdF Energy*
- Energy UK
- First Utility
- Money Saving Expert
- Scottish Power
- Scottish and Southern Energy
- Simplify Digital