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The New Energy Letter: November 2021

Amongst the talk of targets, commitments and roadmaps, we must make room to talk with consumers

Technology clearly plays a central role in the energy transition even at the end of the supply chain, from decarbonising homes and transport to increasing and optimising green electricity generation and storage. But we often forget that consumers will play an equally important role. After all, it’s their experiences, confidence and ultimately choices that will largely determine the speed and scale of the drive to residential net zero.​

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Engaging different customers in the energy transition

The energy transition is a term familiar to us in the energy sector, and we might talk about the need to lead consumers through it. Yet do we adequately consider what this means for consumers and how this is realistically achieved? Even in countries with the lowest carbon footprints, there is still a range of people with beliefs from climate activists to climate change deniers.

The challenge is to bring customers on and through their own personal energy transitions, when people are at different stages on the journey with different motivations, needs and expectations. Therefore, energy companies need to have great insight into their customers to help them navigate their personal energy transitions.

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The path to energy customer engagement

I recently wrote about reframing the energy transition narrative, discussing the need to engage customers in order to bring them on the journey from having to buy commodity-based products based on price, to wanting to buy energy services based on value. But what does that path to customer engagement look like and what role does energy consumption data play? In this article I will help answer this by introducing our customer engagement framework and how it can help energy companies develop their strategies and toolkit to develop customer relationships and progress their customers’ personal energy transitions.

We break down customer engagement into four sequential stages – operation, engagement, empowerment and collaboration. We will discuss three of these in more detail later as we tend to ignore the first stage in the evolutionary process as it belongs to the past. It was characterised by a very functional, transactional relationship, where energy customer interaction with their energy supplier was largely conducted through a bill and subsequent payment, or any bill query which was controlled on energy suppliers’ terms and designed around the operational efficiency of their call centre processes. This stage has been largely resigned to history as companies recognise that power has shifted towards the consumer in liberalised markets.

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The role of energy insights in competitive European energy retail markets

With rising customer expectations, stronger competition in energy retail markets and a shift from commodity to energy services, residential customer engagement becomes an important component of success for energy suppliers. They are looking to energy insights services as a critical tool for customer engagement and to unlock opportunity for new energy services. Delta-EE’s energy insights database helps energy companies better understand the evolving landscape of retail market competitiveness, smart meter rollout, residential customer numbers and churn and energy insight app usage across European countries and retailers.

All the data used in this article come from the energy insights customer engagement database.

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