Data privacy and protection are core concerns for utilities businesses investing in digital transformation and using customer data to tailor solutions to individual customer needs. Keeping personal data safe goes beyond technological shields – the industry needs to engage customers on how their data is used and reassure them with an easy, lightning-fast customer journey.

Evolving consent needs

For years, the energy market has relied on supplier-provided data, such as EACs and meter info, for key processes such as tariff quoting, switching and changes of occupier. However, the shift to smart meters and the data-driven services they enable through granularity means more industry players need access to the personal data available from smart meters.

For each service that a customer signs up for – imagine energy efficiency suggestions or time-of-use tariffs – the organisation offering the service requires formal data subject consent for their data to be used for that particular purpose.

A recent Ofgem Call for Information returned findings demonstrating that the industry agrees there needs to be a standard and easy-to-understand process for consumers to give consent to industry players and then be able to manage, renew and revoke that consent.

The seamless consent process is ready

Prior to industry colleagues seeking a centralised approach to a standard consent process and technology, ElectraLink had already developed a smart meter data consent journey of its own.

GoSmart gives businesses access to DCC-held smart meter data on individual MPANs across the UK. This solution has a built-in Customer Consent Capture Portal that uses a simple but secure process for end users to consent to an innovator or app accessing their smart meter information.

The GoSmart consent user journey asks the user for either a bank card or information about their in-home display (such as a serial number) to verify their identity, show T&Cs, log their consent, and then notify them when consent is up for renewal.

The portal is dual-branded with ElectraLink’s and each GoSmart customer’s logo to reassure the end user that the consent process is secure, legitimate, and approved by the organisation they started the process with.

This makes it easy for engaged energy users to join a range of apps and services that require access to smart meter data.

It also makes it safe, compliant, and convenient for industry players to retain users and develop their service offering without needing to build, implement and display their own consent process and portal. The GoSmart consent portal fits in a website iframe element, minimising development demands and making the process smooth and fast.

Starting the movement

ElectraLink’s approach to consent capture with GoSmart has already caught the eye of UK utilities regulators and companies from as far afield as Japan. With the rapid growth of new services for smart meter users to make smarter energy decisions, users need greater control over who can access their data.

ElectraLink hopes to consult with more parties in the energy market to investigate standardised, user-friendly consent models that can contribute to user satisfaction and net zero.

This article was first published in Utility Week.