The Chapel Group

Clean Technology. Made Simple.

3 steps to resolving Australia’s soaring retail energy prices

Malcolm Turnbull has summoned the heads of Energy Retailers to provide more information to consumers.  This change is aimed at helping the community make better energy decisions…but in my opinion, it is not going to deliver any meaningful results.  Why?  Because if we are serious about helping consumers ensure they are on the best plan and are making informed decisions on how they consume energy, we must give them, and approved third parties, easy and timely access to their energy.  Telling the retailer to give customers more information will only cause more marketing.  However, if the energy data is made available to third parties such as price comparison sites, it will generate innovation, take advantage of the open market structure, and ensure retailers put their best foot forward.  This also creates much needed trust and transparency in the market.

Continue reading “3 steps to resolving Australia’s soaring retail energy prices”

Is policy killing innovation to access energy data?

I’m over the halfway mark of my new book, “The Digital Utility: How To Use Energy Data To Deliver Customer Value”.  I have been wondering how policy has such a profound effect on many people’s ability to innovate?

Continue reading “Is policy killing innovation to access energy data?”

Has the giant awoken?

Many of us in the utility industry have suggested consumer adoption of home automation is a ‘sleeping giant’.  One that could transform residential demand-side management.

Continue reading “Has the giant awoken?”

What will Australia’s future electric metering landscape look like?

Reforms are sweeping through the Australian electricity industry. As part of its Power of Choice (PoC) program, we will see massive changes to the way the industry manages meters and meter data. In most countries around the world, it is the network part of a Utility who is responsible for managing meters and meter data. In Australia, from December 2017, the responsibility will move to the energy retailer.

Continue reading “What will Australia’s future electric metering landscape look like?”

Is this Victoria’s time to shine?

With the State Government’s recent decision to opt out of introducing metering competition until at least 2021, there appears to be a one-off opportunity for Victoria (Australia) to demonstrate the value of the data being collected.

As the only state in Australia to have rolled out smart meters, this is a time for the Victorian Distributors to think big. They have access to valuable energy data not enjoyed by anyone else in the country. These next few years should not be wasted on incremental improvements but leveraging the data to take Victoria towards a Smart State. It’s a time for collaboration. It’s a time to partner with other industry verticals. It’s a time to innovate.  Continue reading “Is this Victoria’s time to shine?”

Using energy data to shape the future of our cities.

On Tuesday 30 May 2017 The Hon Darren Chester MP, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, asked the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities, to conduct an Inquiry into the Australian Government’s role in the development of cities.  The Committee invites interested persons and organisations to make submissions addressing the terms of reference by 31 July 2017.

There are many different lenses that can be placed over this question. I want to know how the Australian government can make a real difference for my children growing up in our ever-changing Cities.  I think about our over consumption as a society and the stress it is putting our planet under.  If you’ve ever watched programs such as War on Waste, you’ll know what I am talking about.   And while I’ve always loved the idea of going to Mars, I prefer it to be on our terms and not because we have to leave this planet.

So, what advice will I be submitting that could help reduce our impact on our planet?  I will be suggesting making energy data easily accessible.

A simple statement that needs a bit of unpacking.  I believe, all energy data captured from premises should be treated in two ways:

  1. It should be anonymised, aggregated and made available for people and organisations to analyse.  This will lead to insights that will help shape policy for the public sector and generate investment opportunities for the private sector.
  2. Customers should have the ability to approve a third party to have near real-time access to their data, this can be used to find ways they can conserve energy and move to sustainable energy.

This is nothing radical.  If the data is being captured every day anyway, then it should be made available.  Those arguing that this introduces enormous costs either don’t want you to see the data, or don’t understand current technologies.  This approach will foster innovation. Public and private sector, industry experts and academics can all partner and use the data to find the best way to reduce the impact we are having on our planet.

My suggestion may appear simple, but I believe it would create a leap forward in our collective ability to solve the biggest challenge we all face.

What role do you see our government playing in the future of our cities?



In our book ‘utilidocs™, building blocks to a Digital Utility’ we describe how you can leverage energy data to deliver new and improved services.   Get your paperback or kindle version here.  All profits go to Solar Sisters.


#connectedera #digitalutility #smartmeters #demandresponse #opendata #demandsidemanagement #DSM


Contact me to find out how we help electricity companies use energy data to deliver customer value.


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Is the introduction of metering competition a good thing?

I have long struggled with the idea of introducing competition as a way to rollout smart meters as is happening in Australia.  I support the concept of open markets, but I wonder if the Australian Energy Regulator’s principle of ‘introducing competition wherever feasible’ has gone one step too far this time.  As we have seen in other industry verticals, open markets with little regulatory oversight don’t always serve the consumer.

I am unconvinced the introduction of smart metering competition delivers value as it fragments a critical part of the value chain.  The value of smart meters is rooted in data analysis, where over time, large datasets provide insights leading to improved products and services to the whole community.

Having access to these datasets that represent a large part of the target location is key to delivering value, for example:

  • The UK is driving for anonymised data sets to be made available as part of its open data access policy.  This can be used by the government, academia and private enterprise to get a macro view of energy usage.
  • The Green Button initiative in the US is now at the stage where a person can approve daily access to their energy data so a third party can deliver products and services that perhaps their electricity utility doesn’t.
  • Dozens of Utilities globally are using the data to justify improvements to safety, reliability and cost of delivering power.  This value is at the heart of their smart metering business case.
  • Regulators can use the data generated by smart meters to keep the network operators honest, and to further encourage investments in behind the meter technologies.

The Australian model leaves the distribution of smart meters to retailers – I have written about some of the the issues I see with this previously here, and questions still remain. Given the above, do you believe the introduction of Smart Metering Competition is in the best interest of the consumer and the broader community?



In our book ‘utilidocs™, building blocks to a Digital Utility’ we describe what services will help you succeed with smart metering and demand response.  Get your paperback or kindle version here.  All profits go to Solar Sisters.


#connectedera #digitalutility #smartmeters #demandresponse #opendata #demandsidemanagement #DSM


Contact me to find out how we help electricity companies use energy data to gain competitive advantage.


Sign-up at so you do not miss our future blog posts

Will Itron’s acquisition of Comverge shake up the demand response market?

The benefits of demand response programs is being referenced regularly in business cases for smart metering, so Itron’s recent acquisition of Comverge comes as no surprise.

It makes sense if you look at the trend towards automation and away from behaviour-based demand response, along with the growing adoption of distributed generation and storage.  Bringing together smart metering and demand response technologies that can monitor and control the energy consumption of residential and commercial properties, introduces some exciting value propositions for Utilities.

Continue reading “Will Itron’s acquisition of Comverge shake up the demand response market?”

Are we entering the age of Demand Response in Australia?

Australia has long been one of the global leaders in its adoption of residential rooftop solar and more recently as a potential leader in the adoption of battery storage.

However, Australia has been in the dark ages with its approach to demand response (DR) when compared to other markets around the world. So, the announcement last week by AEMO and ARENA to “Pilot Demand Response to manage extreme summer peaks” is a welcome change to recent thinking and an exciting move toward Australia’s sustainability goals.

Continue reading “Are we entering the age of Demand Response in Australia?”

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