DSK - energy supplier pool - March 2021

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LFDI - „Energieversorgerpool“ darf nicht zu gläsernen Verbraucher*innen führen
Authority: LFDI (Rhineland-Palatinate)
Jurisdiction: Germany
Relevant Law: Article 6(1)(f) GDPR
Type: Advisory Opinion
Outcome: n/a
Published: 15.03.2021
Fine: None
Parties: n/a
National Case Number/Name: „Energieversorgerpool“ darf nicht zu gläsernen Verbraucher*innen führen
European Case Law Identifier: n/a
Appeal: n/a
Original Language(s): German
Original Source: Datenschutzkonferenz (in DE)
Initial Contributor: Florian Kurz

The German Data Protection Conference (Datenschutzkonferenz) holds that credit agencies in cooperation with energy suppliers cannot rely on Article 6(1)f GDPR to collect customer data in a data pool to determine if a customer considers a longterm contractual relationship.

English Summary


In late 2020 it had been reported that a number of credit agencies and energy suppliers were considering to set up a data pool consisting of customers of said energy suppliers. It had been in intended to not only process so-called „Negativdaten“, i.e. data on consumers who did not pay their bills on time, but also „Positivdaten“, i.e. data on the mere conclusion of a contract. The aim was to identify bargain hunters who are not looking for a longterm contractual relationship with the energy supplier but only want so save a couple of bucks. In identifying this type of customer, the energy supplier would be able to refuse service to these potential customers.


While the credit agencies and suppliers had not yet implemented this plan, the Data Protection Conference considered whether such a processing could be justified by Art. 6(1)f GDPR (legitimate interest)?


The Data Protection Conference maintained that the intended data processing could not be based on Article 6(1)f GDPR. It held that even if the interests of the involved undertakings were considered to be legitimate, they would be overridden by the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual customer. Moreover, the Conference stated that the consumer expects that his/her personal data is not processed beyond what is necessary for the performance of a contract. Hence, the planned processing would impede consumers to act freely on the market.


This statement from the Data Protection Conference is interesting in so far, as the system conceived of by credit agencies and energy suppliers has not yet been implemented. The body consisting of all national DPAs preemptively issued this statement to provide its view on a system that was or is still in its planning stages.

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English Machine Translation of the Decision

The decision below is a machine translation of the German original. Please refer to the German original for more details.

 Decision of the Conference of Independent Data Protection Supervisory Authorities of the
                             Federal and state

 “Energy supplier pool” must not lead to transparent consumers

                          from March 15, 2021

Credit agencies and energy suppliers are considering a so-called energy

to create a pool of energy suppliers. This central data pool should also contain positive
Customer data is saved and transmitted to other energy providers

become. Positive data is data about contracts in which the supplied ones do not

Give cause for complaint, i.e. behave in accordance with the contract.

Information about the number of concluded contracts and the respective

duration of use can provide information as to whether consumers have a longer

Intend to enter into a contractual relationship with an electricity supplier or

Take advantage of thirty offers for new customers. Consumers who regularly
Choose the most cost-effective offer on the market for you and choose the provider

would like to change, could then be offered by utility companies at pric-

attractive offers are excluded.

However, every citizen has the right to compete between

to use the energy suppliers and to look for cheap offers on the market

search. The desire to put alleged "bargain hunters" in a central data

ten pool in order to identify them as such when the contract is initiated and
To be able to exclude from offers, if necessary, does not represent a legitimate interest i.

S. d. Art. 6 para. 1 sentence 1 lit. f) GDPR. It was precisely the aim of the law

bers, through the liberalization of the energy market, an effective and

to enable falsified competition in the supply of electricity and gas
chen. Trying to reach price-conscious consumers who are willing to change

identify them and, if necessary, exclude them from certain offers, this would

contrary to our objective, even if the interests of the company were considered to be justified,

In such cases, the legitimate interests and fundamental rights prevail

of customers. Consumers who are loyal to the contract can rightly expect

that no processing of your data beyond the purpose of the contract takes place

follows, which may limit their ability to operate freely in the market.

The storage and transmission of positive data by an energy supplier

gerpool would and would make a significant contribution to transparent consumers

according to Art. 6 Paragraph 1 Clause 1 lit. f) GDPR unlawful.