For many people, energy is not an interesting subject. So much so that research suggests people think about energy as little as 6 minutes a year; it’s a commodity and something we increasingly take for granted.
This lack of interest and engagement has led to accusations of customer exploitation and it’s certainly true that for the many millions of households who have never switched supplier they are likely to be overpaying by hundreds of pounds a year.
We think this issue of engagement is a crucial one. More clearly needs to be done by the industry to engage with customers positively as a way of driving greater trust and a more dynamic market.
First Utility think technology and innovation can play a central role in this.
In an age of mobile apps telling us exactly what we’re spending on our phone bills, broadband or even health and fitness, it’s remarkable that many people have little idea how their energy usage impacts their utility bill each month.
As an industry we have a great opportunity to re-engage consumers in a positive discussion about how much energy they use to help them make informed decisions, get a better experience, and to contribute to energy efficiency goals and saving money.
But, to date we think the pace of change and innovation in other sectors has left the energy industry behind. First Utility hope to change this and by taking inspiration from the likes of Amazon and Spotify to display data a way that is insightful, relevant and easy to use — and this is how we are changing the relationship with our customers.
We need to make energy interesting and engaging, not just for a week of novelty, but in a way that truly changes our relationship with our energy consumption long term. That requires a complete re-think of what’s been done before both in what we deliver and how we deliver it.
That’s why we’re working in partnership with our customers to develop innovative apps and online tools that give unrivalled insights into one’s energy usage. Central to this is our My Energy platform which provides customers with a range of engaging ‘widgets’ showing comparisons to similar homes in their area, highlighting where energy is wasted and ranking which appliances use the most. It is evolving all the time based on input and feedback from customers — something that this industry has typically been bad at — and will get richer all the time.
We’re working in partnership with our customers to develop innovative apps and online tools that give unrivalled insights into one’s energy usage. Our My Energy platform provides customers with a range of widgets showing comparisons to similar homes in their area, highlighting where energy is wasted and ranking which appliances use the most.
With smart meters on the way, these tools get even more powerful and we have a unique opportunity to completely change the game for how households think about their energy consumption.
A more engaged customer will mean a more vibrant market, more trust and more awareness about energy usage. All this will help households save money, waste less energy and make more informed decisions. That’s why we’ve put technology and innovation at the centre of our strategy to engage and empower our customers.