We’re at European Utility Week talking about engaging customers with smart technology

12 November 2019

We're speaking at Eliq’s breakfast seminar at the 2019 European Utility Week.

This week our Head of Smart, Andrew Coleman is speaking at Eliq’s breakfast seminar at the 2019 European Utility Week in Paris.

Eliq are a UK company who are pioneers in intelligent energy monitoring.

Energy has traditionally been very difficult to get customers to engage with. In this seminar, Andrew will speak about Bristol Energy’s experience with customer engagement and how the advent of digital monitoring, apps and smart meters are helping customers understand their energy usage better than ever before.

The energy industry is going through the largest transformational change since privatisation. The introduction of smart metering is not only transformative, but, fundamentally essential to the future of energy provision and to the de-carbonisation of heat and transport.

With this in mind and set in the context of Bristol City Council’s ambition to become carbon neutral by 2030 (a massive 20 years earlier than the UK government), it is essential that we do everything we can to help our customers better understand and manage their energy use.

We know, most people aren’t as interested in energy as we are. People want to know their lights will turn on, and their heating will keep them warm. An increasing amount of people also want to know that this is being done in a clean and sustainable way. According to a 2017 survey carried out by Accenture, consumers on average think about their energy provider for just nine minutes per year, which isn’t very long at all.

How can we expect our customers to install smart meters, change their energy habits, and help Bristol achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 when the general public only think about energy for nine minutes per year? It’s a difficult challenge but one that many energy companies are trying to tackle.

Bristol Energy has partnered with Eliq to develop consumer engagement platforms that aims to make energy much more engaging. This starts with our app; which we’ve called “Be Connected”. We chose this name, not only because BE stands for Bristol Energy, but because Being Connected is exactly what we want to be with our customers; and we want them to be connected with us, and with their energy use. It’s so important to us that it’s one of our core values.

The first version of our app is out there already, and we’ve received some really great feedback. We’ve seen customer dwell time in excess of five minutes per month (that’s a 6-fold increase on the average), and this increases further for customers with smart meters. But this is just the beginning.

Be Connected is our platform designed to tackle consumer engagement and energy connectedness. We are developing future technologies with Eliq to help our customers understand their energy behaviours, and get on top of their costs.

We have recently won government innovation funding with Eliq, to develop new ways of talking to customers about energy in the way they want to hear about it. We want customers to gain meaningful and tailored insights into how, where, when and why they could change their energy behaviour. In time, we also want to help customers integrate technologies in their connected home to facilitate a more energy conscious way of living. Naturally, we’re only too aware of customer concerns over data privacy, so all of this innovation will only ever be carried out with the customer’s consent, and with their best interests at heart.

We really want to ensure that our customers feel the benefits of smart energy. We want them to be more engaged, reduce their energy spend and their carbon footprint, and we want them to have an excellent experience with us while doing so. We’re only too aware of the challenges facing the smart meter roll out and we are working hard to mitigate those. It’s time to move past that now, and to deliver on the promises of smart.

This is a really exciting time for the energy industry, and for our customers.

If you’re at the event you can catch Andrew’s talk, Wednesday November 13th between 8.30 – 9.30am.