“Accelerate access to smart meter data to promote energy efficiency, empower consumers, and support new energy transition solutions”

  • Energy Systems Catapult and the Data Communications Company are calling for greater transparency of, and accelerated access to, smart meter data

  • In Data for Good, Smart Meter Data Access, the Catapult argues that access to data would allow existing and new organisations alike to innovate, engage consumers, and deliver system benefits

  • The report sets out four proposals to enhance the governance framework and increase trust so that the public good benefits can be realised more effectively

Greater transparency of, and accelerated access to, smart meter data can promote energy efficiency, effectively target those in need, empower consumers, and support new solutions for the energy transition, finds Energy Systems Catapult.

The report – Data for Good, Smart Meter Data Access – published today, as a follow-up to the Catapult’s Energy Digitalisation Taskforce report (January 2022) which recommended utilising smart meter data for public good.

The energy industry, Ofgem, and the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, continue to explore increasing smart meter data access while maintaining robust data privacy.

Initiatives such as the Smart Meter Data Repository programme and Ofgem’s work on consumer consent along with the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill for example, also reinforces the UK Government’s desire for a pro-innovation, pro-growth data landscape.

However, current incentives and the governance system in place across the energy sector do not promote the use of smart meter data to the fullest potential.

Given the scale of the impact of the energy crisis on households in the last year – with an estimated 6.7 million homes being defined as ‘fuel poor’ – urgent action is required to provide access to data that can help deliver interventions to support these households effectively.

Energy Systems Catapult have set out how accelerating the pace of access to smart meter data from Great Britain’s 28 million installed smart meters could enable cost savings for consumers – enabling a just energy transition – and a reduction in carbon emissions. Smart meter data flows have already helped unlock 1,000,000 tonnes of carbon savings per year.

“Access to smart meter data is a critical enabler of a just transition, consumer control and system stability. Smart meter data will help promote energy efficiency, empower consumers, and support new solutions for the energy transition”, said Laura Sandys CBE, Non-Executive Director at Energy Systems Catapult.

Changes to the current smart metering regulatory framework, however, must retain and enhance end-consumer trust in how their data is accessed and used.

In response, the Catapult have provided four recommendations designed to enhance the governance framework, to increase trust and unlock public good benefits in the short, medium, and long term.

  1. Unlock smart meter system data to support fuel poor households
  2. Maximise access to smart meter data through existing mechanisms
  3. Establish a data institution for smart meter data
  4. Maximise data access while minimising risk

To tap into the value of smart meter data and enact the recommendations set out in the report, support is required from Ofgem, industry and the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.

Currently, the Data Communications Company requires approval from Ofgem to make data available. This process can be expedited in the form of ‘permitted purpose’ consent (a process Ofgem is currently reviewing) while longer-term regulatory solutions (e.g., Smart Energy Code Modifications or Licence change) are explored.

At the same time, changes to data governance and data legislation responsibilities would require pan-industry agreement. The report urges industry stakeholders to work collaboratively on this and for Ofgem to provide support where needed to ensure the right outcomes.

This would represent a step forward in better use of data to help fuel poor households and prepare the ground for public interest use cases that can be enabled through system data.

Guy Newey, Chief Executive Officer at Energy Systems Catapult, said:

“If we want to unleash the innovation we need from the digitalisation of energy, we need to make it easier to access smart meter data in a safe and responsible way.

“This is a vast national asset, which can help innovators identify opportunities to create new products and services to improve the efficiency of the system, cut fuel poverty, and drive down emissions.

“The UK Government, industry, and Ofgem must work together to accelerate changes to the regulatory framework to create a fit for purpose, data access regime, which could help cement the UK’s position as a global leader in digital energy innovation”.

Angus Flett, Chief Executive Officer at the Data Communications Company, said:

“Smart meter data is already delivering benefits for over half of the households in Britain, by putting consumers in control of their energy usage and enabling the energy system to operate flexibly and securely with the best possible use of renewable energy sources. At the DCC, we firmly believe that providing secure access to this data – appropriately and with consumer trust at the forefront – can and must be used to enable new services and help to tackle some of society’s greatest challenges.

“With the support and collaboration of stakeholders and industry, we can put in place the smart meter data access regime needed for the benefit of households in fuel poverty and lay the foundations for future use cases which deliver public benefit and drive decarbonisation”.

Read the Report

Data for Good, Smart Meter Data Access

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