European Utility Week – an industry in search of the customer
Fighting their way through flight delaying mists, the captains of European utilities congregated last week at European Utility Week in Vienna. In search of answers and Wiener Melange, the fog overshadowing their understanding of their customers was clearly much harder to address than a mere touch of fickle weather. It was to this end, shining a guiding light for utilities to follow towards the customer, that Delta-ee ventured down to the ancient Austrian capital to publicly unveil our answer: #energyservicesinnovation
Our new Energy Services Innovation (ESI) Study
The changing face of the customer end of the value chain is bringing with it new opportunities for value creation, but also disruption, new competition and the threat of utility disintermediation. Delta-ee’s Energy Services Innovation study provides a detailed glimpse into this space, looking at 36 of the most innovative business models in the energy services space from a long-list of 107 of the most interesting energy innovations present in the global market. Through detailed research, analysis, and in-depth conversation with the innovating firms, ESI provides utilities with a bottom-up guide for tangible action. How utilities can create and enhance value in the energy services space, whilst winning over the hearts and minds of their disillusioned customers.
To this end, Delta-ee’s Nigel Timperley chaired a half-day session within the European Utility Week’s ‘Innovation Hub’, introducing 4 of the 11 key themes emerging within the energy services sector coming from the ESI study. Representing each of these themes was one of the 36 innovating firms that was analysed as part of the study:
- Data as a key differentiator: FirstFuel
- Something for nothing: tiko
- Pay as you go: Porta Capena
- Enabling customer participation in the value chain: Jules Energy
Highlighting some of the key findings of the ESI study and just what the energy services space has in store for utilities, the session provided attendees with a true sneak-peek behind the veil and into the everyday operations innovative energy services propositions. Propositions that are starting to intrude upon and threaten the long-held playing-field traditionally home to big utilities.
The winds of change
Some of these propositions featured at large over the three days of the conference, with data, energy storage and IoT being the go to buzz words on everyone’s lips and powerpoint presentations. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many utility players were in search of answers as to how best adapt their businesses to exploit these new opportunities. In addition to ESI’s showcase of real-world business opportunities arising from innovations in these spaces, Delta-ee’s Julian Jansen and Arthur Jouannic were on panels discussing the key issues surrounding storage and IoT respectively, shaping industry thought via the output of our energy storage and connected home research services.
Back from reality
As the sun set on these three days of intense discussions, debates and sleep-deprivation, it was clear that they had helped to further illuminate a path for utilities to follow on the road to customer engagement and value creation. However, there is still much work to be for many of these giants to move beyond acting as mere commodity suppliers, to the providers of valued energy services that they wish to become. It is to this end that we at Delta-ee look forward to continuing working together with our partner utilities via our Energy Services Innovation offering, helping them develop scalable business models and new revenue streams to navigate the murky waters of this space towards improved value propositions for both customers and their business.
So what are the key challenges and opportunities that you see for utilities to innovate and remain afloat and relevant to the customer in a rapidly changing world? Join the discussion via our LinkedIn Group ‘Delta-ee Energy Services Innovation Group’ and let us know, or shoot me an email.