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Jenny leads Delta-ee’s work on ‘new energy’ business models & customer propositions – helping clients navigate the sea of seemingly endless innovations and understanding what works & what doesn’t; what customers are engaging with & why. Previously she was an analyst on Delta-ee’s Roadmap Research Service and Pathways Tool – understanding and forecasting the future of residential heating markets across Europe.

Prior to joining Delta-ee, she worked for Ian Marchant (ex-CEO of SSE) and before that as a researcher and business improvement associate in the recycling and waste management sector.

Jenny holds an MSc (Distinction) in Carbon Management and a BSc (Hons) in Geography, both from the University of Edinburgh.

2018-2019: The pivotal years for New Energy

Delta-ee may have been early to the conversation. We started talking 10-15 years ago about decentralised energy, customers not meter points; who has needs, wants and preferences, services beyond commodity. These dynamics have now firmly moved from being on the periphery of the debate to front and centre. Most companies now recognise the direction in which the market is heading, and it seems like we are approaching the cusp of change.

Developing the right strategy and tactics is however challenging – exciting, but challenging.

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Are the most exciting new energy business model trends too good to be true?

Some of the novel ‘New Energy’ customer propositions we are seeing coming to market feel more like the stuff of sci-fi – better suited to futuristic superhero films than your energy bill:

  • Fancy algorithms automatically working out what energy tariff I should be on and doing the grunt work of switching for me
  • My heating always delivering precisely 21oC of comfort without me having to touch the controls or equipment (I actually have mine set to 16oC! Am I warm-blooded or just thrifty?)
  • Trading the energy generated on my solar PV roof with a neighbour – in other words, becoming an energy supplier myself!
  • Electric cars making money as they supply the national grid, and we can sit back and watch TV/read a book
  • My energy supplier notifying me of inefficient, energy intensive appliances and recommending suggested steps to take to cut my bills… surely the opposite of what they’d really like to be doing??

Those of you following our ‘New Energy’ research work will be familiar with these business models, and a multitude more, and how fast they are becoming reality – it is only a matter of time before many transition from early adopter to mass market. See our recent whitepaper.

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Auto-switching – is the energy industry underestimating its potential to mix things up?

 Our recent webinar, How to make money in ‘New Energy’ #1, focused on marketplace operations - one of 6 key categories of business models that we have identified through our ‘New Energy’ Business Model Service research. This business model naturally comes in a variety of flavours, ranging from simplistic price comparison sites – where customers are recommended a certain supplier to switch to – to sophisticated trading platforms which create new environments that allow consumers to be matched directly with their preferred energy generators.

Another example of marketplace operations becoming increasingly interesting is the notion of auto-switching – where companies provide a service designed to cut customers’ gas and electricity bills as much as possible by automatically and frequently switching them on to the best possible tariff.

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easyEnergy? It’s not as simple as you think

Can my colleague Jon Slowe see in to the future?

During our weekly brainstorm that looks at innovative business models emerging in the energy space, Jon voiced the likelihood of a “budget airline” proposition entering the market. Little did he or I know that the brand who own easyJet would do just that, only days later!

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The race to reinvent

I think I’ll get broad agreement in saying most energy companies are racing to re-invent themselves from supply to service; centralised to decentralised; volume to value. As such, new and innovative business models are emerging - challenging the very way in which transactions across the space are carried out, and revolutionising customers’ access to not only information but the range of products & services available to them. 

The need to provide customers with energy, reliably and economically, has not altered. But an ever-changing mix of drivers; from the rise of inexpensive, customer-facing technology, especially the internet and the smartphone, are at the beginning of transforming our industry forever.

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Is a European-wide ban on the sale of fossil-fuel heating appliances imminent?

Policy fundamentally dictates the commercial opportunities within a market, and the business models that are viable. With energy policy shifting focus from electricity, towards heating and transport, could the regulatory moves and discussions we are seeing in the transport sector be mirrored in heating?

A plethora of incentives for EVs are now in place across Europe, discussion of the mandatory requirement for every new build to be equipped with an electric recharging point and the outright ban of certain products are underway. Although developments in the heating sector are currently slower moving, the first steps are in place, in particular new build requirements. It is clear that when countries do decide to act, change and transformation can be rapid.

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