Access to meter data – a good start…

The year has gotten off to a good start for consumers. The Electricity Authority has just released its decision on giving householders access to their consumption data, which is actually a big deal!

The Authority is changing the rules so that;

(a) retailers must provide up to 24 months of consumption data if requested by a consumer or the consumer’s agent

(b) there must be a process for providing and exchanging consumption data

(c) there must be a standard format to exchange consumption data

(d) when making consumers’ electricity consumption data available to them, retailers must protect consumers’ privacy. 

This is great news for average homeowners who want to know if they are getting a good deal on their current electricity plan or if, and how much, they should invest in, say, solar PV. This data will help make those decisions easier and clearer.

The Retailer must provide the data it collects for billing, so if your electricity retailer reads your smart meter remotely then you should have access to your half-hourly data, but if your meter is only read monthly then you will only have access to monthly data

Of course, not many homeowners lie awake at night worrying that, at the moment, they can’t access their consumption data; and one of the arguments from Utilities that aren’t that supportive of this rule change is that “the public aren’t interested”. But I think there will be quite a lot of interest when a service like ours offers accurate retail plan comparisons or can calculate the exact amount of solar PV you need and what the payback is on that investment.

Another claim from the electricity industry is that the major retailers already make this information available through online services (portals) so why bother to regulate? And the answer is innovation and in a future post, we will outline why we think that the Electricity Authorities’ “Retail Data”, “Access to Consumption Data” and “Improving Transparency” projects will increase competition and innovation in New Zealand electricity markets.

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