The UK retail energy segment is reaching an interesting juncture. Within an industry paradigm that largely has been consistent since deregulation in the 1990s, customers have too often been approached as a problem to manage in what was – and still today remains – largely a commodity supply business.
Regulators have remained focussed on cost and transparency in light of sub-par customer engagement in retail competition. Consequently, many of the larger players have been in a reactive – even defensive – mode, focussed on reducing complaints and costs coming from less-than-optimal customer experiences rather than searching for value from their customer books.
This report, written in association with Utility Week, explores questions and topics, discussed through interviews with industry leaders, that speak to a break down in that old paradigm. Will utilities (as we know them today) be confined to a corner of the market or will they be able to define themselves as the orchestrators of a range of services to consumers?
Much of the value from new decentralised energy, prosumption, and e-mobility segments can only be accessed through direct relationships with customers. Utilities, however, will have to better align their strategies and business models to what customers consider valuable, how they are willing to engage and, more importantly, what they are willing to pay for. With new generations of systems providing unprecedented access to customer data, there is little excuse to not do so. In an era of net zero, energy players have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to revive themselves and their business models – and to pivot, crucially, to a sustainable position where the needs of the consumer come first.