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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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Is investment an indicator of future success?

The German football team is out of the World Cup. Was it what you expected? Unlikely. Had you predicted this would happen based on the players selected, Joachim Löw’s ability to coach, or the huge investments made to secure a top-tier national squad? Probably not.

As we published the ‘New Energy’ Business Model Service’s latest report, this got me thinking about who is investing in what within ‘New Energy’ and if how much you invest in something is really an indication of future success?

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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 meMy 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 bookMy 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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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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