Energy companies agree to develop new data sharing systems

As a response to the government’s MiData initiative, UK energy companies have agreed to provide consumers automated access to their data files. This will make it possible for customers to easily compare quotes from different providers. Customers of the largest suppliers can already download their data electronically. Third parties, such as smart meter providers, would also be able to access the consumer data with individuals’ consent.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change says that an implementation group has been set up to move forward the development of these voluntary systems as quickly as possible. The group will report back to ministers on its progress by September.

The MiData programme presents business opportunities for app developers. The scheme was made possible by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, which can be used to require the banking, mobile phone and energy sectors to release customer data.

In November 2013, the government announced a partnership with 26 organisations. In March 2014, Stella Creasy MP said that the MiData scheme has struggled to have any impact and urged amendments to the Consumer Rights Bill to make these developments happen quicker. The Bill is currently going through Parliament and is due to have its 2nd reading in the House of Lords on 1 July.

The ICO has said that it is supportive of MiData as long as data protection principles are respected.