UK’s energy regulator Ofgem seeks views on consumer-consented data flows

Ellie Duncan
04 Dec 2023

UK energy regulator Ofgem has issued a call for input to help shape and improve consumer-consented data sharing processes in the energy sector.

In its call for input document, titled ‘Data Sharing in a Digital Future’, Ofgem states that to “fully benefit” from the transition to net zero, consumers will need to give, manage and revoke consent to share their data with energy sector participants.

In doing so, market participants will be able to offer energy services that lower bills and encourage consumers to reduce their carbon footprint.

Ofgem has set out three objectives, including improved access to personal data across the sector, improved consumer trust in data-sharing services, and development of a consent process or mechanism.

The call for input is seeking views on three proposals put forward by Ofgem on obtaining consent, one of which is a single technical solution, such as a consent “dashboard”.

Through the call for input, Ofgem wants to understand whether facilitation or policy intervention is required to make data sharing in the energy sector a reality.

Ofgem cites the UK’s Open Banking and Australia’s Consumer Data Right as examples of “successful consumer consent solutions”.

Marzia Zafar, deputy director of digitalisation and innovation at Ofgem, said: “I’m delighted to be able to announce the first steps in the journey Ofgem will take to put the consumer at the heart of the digital, data-driven future we plan.

“Any energy system that could achieve net zero by 2050 will be decentralised, digital, and run on data. Consumer data flows from smart meters are going to inform where power is needed, and how the system will flex to balance demand and supply.”

Zafar added that any system will require consumers to “trust that their data is being used fairly, and that their interests are at the heart of it”.

“This Call for Input, engaged closely by organisations like Citizens Advice, will help us to understand what solution will best suit customers wanting to share and benefit from their smart meter data.”

Interested stakeholders have until 26 January 2024 to respond to the call for input.

Ofgem will produce a consultation document based on the findings, which will be published in Spring 2024, setting out its proposed decisions for improving consumer consent processes in the energy sector.