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Most people think of Arcadia as an energy service, but we also provide a financial service. While the two may not seem related at first, both depend on access to customer data. Arcadia is taking lessons from the financial technology sector to inform how we access and protect customer data.

As a technology platform that uses customers’ utility login credentials to help them manage their power bills and support renewable energy, we take protecting customer data very seriously. Although the principles and technologies that Arcadia uses to connect consumers’ utility accounts to our platform are relatively new in the energy utility space, they’ve been used for decades to protect sensitive financial account information.Think about third-party apps such as Mint, Venmo, and Acorns: all rely on the ability to aggregate customer data accessed through login credentials. More and more jurisdictions, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the United States, recognize the importance of data-sharing through account access and are enacting regulations or laws to govern it.

Policymakers and regulators in the financial space share a common goal with account access sharing: empower consumers by giving them control over their account information, including who can access it and use it. There are three core principles behind this:

  • Consumers should have the right to access data about them and their activity, and to grant permission to third parties to access their data and conduct account activity on their behalf.
  • The consumer should give informed consent for this account access, and third parties must follow relevant privacy-related standards.
  • Any methods for accessing the consumer’s data and recipients of that data should meet appropriate standards for data security.

These are the same principles that Arcadia follows. This white paper explains the robust and cutting-edge measures, mirroring practices in the financial industry, that we employ to protect the security of our customers’ data. It also outlines the vast opportunity that utility companies have to give customers greater control over their account information, making it easier for customers to use third-party services such as Arcadia. Figuring out how to enhance data-sharing with third parties — while maintaining strong customer data privacy and protection — could reduce transaction costs and unlock further opportunities to innovate and create value for both customers and utilities.