The changing face of energy use – from consumption to collaboration

Last week we hosted a breakfast briefing at European Utility Week showcasing some of the work we’ve been doing with Bristol Energy, as well as consultancy Delta EE’s view of some of the trends in the usage of energy experience software among utilities.

One thing is clear – it’s not change IS coming but rather change is here!

Smart Metering will enable this much needed energy transition, and whilst some parts of Europe are more advanced than others there is a commitment from nearly all European countries to installing this technology. The UK is behind much of Europe when it comes to smart meters, but is still the region’s most competitive energy market – although still only 41% of the UK public trust their supplier.

Increased switching, plus lack of trust means little brand loyalty for energy consumers and add in the increased penetrations of auto-switching services it all leads to savvy customers increasingly chasing the lowest price.

So how can energy companies deliver additional value to retain customers, when they all provide the same core end-product?

We can all see how smart meters are enabling a raft of new technologies and business concepts such as heat-as-a-service, battery storage and self-generation through solar panels.  But these technologies all have the potential to diminish the relevance of the role of the energy supplier as new entrants look to provide energy as a service, wrapped around EV charging or demand side response packages.

Increased engagement with their energy use is key to keeping consumers loyal – especially when you consider that a typical energy consumer spends only 9 minutes a year thinking about their energy.

Our speaker from Bristol Energy, Andrew Coleman made a valuable point – ‘engagement and trust increases when you deliver useful services, a positive customer experience, and transparency’.  So just how do you make what you deliver to customers useful?

Recent evidence from more than 800 long term users of our app has given us some useful insight into what consumers value from their energy supplier.  95% of those surveyed say that they understand their consumption better via the app and 77% say it has helped them to save money. And to put that into perspective – customers of Bristol Energy who are using the app think about their energy usage on average 5.5 minutes a month – that’s 66 minutes a year – whilst not a massive chunk of ‘share of mind’ is a considerable improvement on the previous total of 9 minutes a year!

Delta EE term this shift a move from execution (interacting with suppliers only by paying a bill), through engagement, empowerment (helping consumers make better choices about the way in which they use energy) and then to collaboration – working together to reduce energy consumption and decarbonise by making better choices.

This all points to evidence that shows that by moving people along the engagement curve, you create consumers looking for new services, and who are loyal to your brand. 

An engaged customer can be a sticky one – our next blog will discuss the key tools to create customer trust.

You can view the full slide deck from the Breakfast Briefing below, and to find out more about Eliq and to be invited to future events, subscribe to our newsletter.

Eliq Breakfast Briefing at European Utility Week 2019 from Håkan Ludvigson

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