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Energy Supply Having a holistic view of a customer’s usage patterns enables companies to offer additional products or services. For example, it may be noted that day time energy consumption is high because the heating is being left on during the day. Through information about mobile location, the heating could be controlled based on where a person is; ensuring they always come home to a warm house without the need to leave the heating on.

Wider Community Services Other examples where the monitoring of energy usage patterns may deliver benefits include, assistance for impoverished families to budget and control their energy bills. This may further incorporate housing associations combining rent collection with utilities so that money can be best apportioned to meet a family’s needs. In some cases it may also makes sense to restrict energy consumption on non-essential appliances to prioritise energy for cooking and heating. Energy consumption patterns could also be used as an alarm for elderly or vulnerable people whereby changes in behaviour, such as not switching the kettle on in the morning, could trigger a phone call to make sure there is not a problem.

Green Energy The amount of solar PV used for energy collection in the UK is also on the increase as batteries for storing solar energy are improving and dropping in price at a rapid rate, making it a more robust option for energy supply. Smart technology also enables community power generation with the use of local microgrids and peer to peer energy trading whereby consumers buy, sell or swap excess solar electricity directly with each other. For both solar energy and community power projects, there are lessons to be learned from the southern hemisphere which is more advanced in these areas than the UK. In countries such as Australia and New Zealand, energy companies help customers manage their energy supply by determining when it is most efficient to run from the battery storage or from the national grid. Customers like the benefits of using sustainable, green energy; saving money, and being in control of their own energy supply.

Modern Automation Solutions In a highly connected world, modern automation systems can bring together huge volumes of data and convert it into

intelligent, usable information. For challenger brands to achieve the freedom to innovate and differentiate they need automation solutions that will bring together real-time, distributed data about customer behaviour, pricing and cost models into a single view of the customer. Such data driven platforms will give clear, easily accessible business intelligence that will enable analysis of consumption patterns and give the ability to provide automatic responses to customer needs in terms of service or tariffs without the need for human intervention. Entry-level, fixed automation systems do not give the flexibility to differentiate and the overheads of traditional, custom-built legacy systems are simply too large. The path to success for these organisations lies with flexible, configurable systems that empower them to innovate and keep overheads low. Systems such as Gentrack Velocity are specifically designed to do this; providing visibility and web-based self-service functionality with integrated business and operational processes that just run. Its completely configurable work flows are designed to keep overheads low; ensure smooth, accurate day to day running of operations including billing processes, and give companies the agility they need to grow market share and remain market compliant.

technologies and the huge volumes of data they generate to better understand and meet customer needs. They are using elegant, modern automation systems designed specifically for use with multiple utilities to translate data into intelligent, actionable information and provide customer service excellence without large overheads. It is predicted that by 2020 up to a quarter of Big Six customers will switch to more agile, medium-sized energy suppliers that offer appealing pricing, better service and creative energy solutions. This will produce a significant change in the landscape of the UK energy market with many more medium-sized businesses offering a complete mixture of utilities. Indeed, with the continued rise of challenger brands in the energy space, the Big Six will more likely become the Big 15.

Summary Records show that success in the energy market does not come from competing on price alone but through service differentiation. Challenger brands are using the latest smart meter

Energy Manager Magazine • January/february 2017

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Energy Manager Magazine Jan/Feb 2017