Datahub to incorporate data on electricity use and users into one system, making it easier to develop new services
On 20 September 2018, the Finnish Government submitted to Parliament a proposal for acts to amend the Electricity Market Act and certain other related acts. The proposal includes provisions on a transition to a centralised information exchange system for the electricity retail market. A centralised information exchange system, a Datahub, will be established for electricity suppliers, distribution system operators and electricity customers.
The Datahub will store data from electricity metering points and synchronise electricity-contract processes, making it easier and more efficient to process data. The retail market will run more smoothly and the process of changing suppliers, for example, will become more simple. At the same time, electricity undertakings’ services to end-users will improve. It will be easier and faster to change suppliers and finalise electricity contracts, there will be less errors in the market processes, and it will be easier to have more than one metering point on the same electricity contract.
Customer data protection will also be better. It will be easier to manage data protection and data security in a centralised system compared to a situation where each electricity supplier and distribution system operator have their data systems.
“The Datahub project is part of the implementation of the Government’s Energy and Climate Strategy. It will promote the development of smart grids and demand response systems, which will improve services and increase cost efficiency and energy efficiency. The Datahub is a significant technological change in the electricity market, affecting all electricity generators, suppliers and consumers using the distribution systems,” says Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing Kimmo Tiilikainen.
A centralised information exchange system will create new business opportunities for energy service providers, diversified electricity generation, operators of charging stations for electric cars and ICT companies. It will improve the competitiveness of Finnish electricity suppliers.
Electricity suppliers and distribution system operators will be obligated to use the Datahub for all exchange of metering and end-user data as part of electricity trade. The centralised information exchange system will be up and running in spring 2021 as soon as the necessary information systems are complete and fully tested. The Datahub operates under the Finnish electricity transmission system operator Fingrid, which is state majority-owned.
A lot of information is generated for every electricity metering point daily. There are some 80 distribution system operators and some 100 electricity suppliers serving Finland’s 3.5 million electricity metering points. Metering data on electricity consumption is generated every hour, which means 8,760 readings a year per each electricity customer. By the early 2020s, this figure could be four times higher once Finland adopts 15-minute interval metering. Every year, there are around one million address changes and more than 200,000 supplier switches. This means hundreds of millions of information exchange messages between suppliers and distribution system operators in one year’s time.
Efficient exploitation of the Datahub’s services and the safeguarding of the data protection of registered users require a system where individual customers are clearly identified using their personal identity number or similar unique identifier. Finland’s Population Register Centre could transfer the necessary personal data required for identifying electricity consumers in a centralised way to the customer data systems of electricity suppliers and distribution system operators and the Datahub. This would make the transition to the Datahub easier.
The centralised information exchange system is estimated to generate annually a total of EUR 7.6 million in cost savings for companies operating in the electricity retail market. Moreover, significant economic benefits are expected to accrue to electricity undertakings in the long term because of better practices and less need for ICT investments.
Arto Rajala, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 506 4828