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National Electricity law (Consumer Data Rights) Amendment Bill Speech

20 October 2022

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I also rise in support of the bill on behalf of the Greens. Giving consumers better information regarding their electricity is a key element of the transition towards renewable energy in this state. This bill allows customers the right to transfer their data to compare and switch between products and services. Consumers will need to consent and provide authorisation before their data is shared. This measure is already available in the banking and finance sectors, and by allowing it in the energy sector we can create better options for electricity consumers.

The Productivity Commission, in its 2017 report into data availability and use, found that Australian consumers have little capacity to choose how digital data regarding them is used. The report recommended that consumers be given the right to use their digital data. According to the report, consumer data rights will result in increased market competition, wider service choices and innovation in services.

In 2019, a report by Deloitte investigated consumer data rights in the banking sector. In this survey, they found that trust is key to determining whether or not consumers are likely to share their data. In light of the recent Optus data breach, many consumers will be concerned about the security of their data when it comes to transferring this information. For this reason, the need for security is paramount, but we are satisfied that no data can be shared without the consent of the consumer with respect to this bill.

As we transition away from fossil fuels, giving consumers the right to their data will allow people to have greater choice about where their electricity comes from. The increase in innovation of services that has been forecast is welcome. If electricity providers are forced to transform services to suit customer need, we might see more green options in the energy market, and of course we in the Greens would welcome that.

Nearly 70 per cent of South Australians want full renewable energy by 2030, according to the Australia Institute. While we transition at a state level, we can also give consumers a greater right to their data to allow them to vote with their feet and choose providers that are offering services that are better for our planet. With that, I conclude my remarks.