If there’s one thing for certain, it’s that the decisions and actions the energy sector makes today about how we generate and consume energy will have a long-lasting impact on the world. This was the overarching sentiment the Flux team recently took away from Australian Energy Week, an annual event dedicated to everything important to Australia’s energy future.
The stakes are high. In addition to managing the pressures of an energy sector that is rapidly becoming decentralised, the drive to achieve decarbonisation targets and the race to innovate in this space all while maintaining profitability, energy companies also face the challenges that come with customer bases that are increasingly stretched due to the climbing cost of living. It was evident that while the sector remains optimistic about its future, there is also a growing sense of urgency and perhaps a feeling that things need to kick up a notch.
Let’s look at some of the key themes from the event.
The future of energy is digital
“We need to automate, reduce cost, and find efficiency by embracing the digitisation journey” Ryan Warburton, General Manager, AGL
There’s no question that digitisation underpins the energy transformation towards achieving global decarbonisation goals. But digital is also best practice for more efficient and automated business operations and sustaining customer centricity. And in addition to these improvements, technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) are becoming increasingly important to leverage data to provide seamless customer interactions as well as supporting activities such as predicting customer churn and customer retention tactics.
Energy customers see innovation in digital technology as a ‘must-have’, and are using their purchasing power to drive the transition. But the offshoot is that digital is also giving energy retailers greater business flexibility and reshaping traditional ways of working, which is beneficial to everyone.
Our take on this is yes, digital is essential, but also that strong partnerships with technology providers are equally as important. Not just in ensuring the technology you buy continues to add value, but in the sharing of knowledge and skills that comes with a vendor who is invested in your business. As Duncan Permezel, General Manager Consumer & Property at Origin Energy said, “partnership is a scalability strategy”.
The cost of living crisis has accelerated the need for cost effective, sustainable energy solutions
“We’re in the midst of a cost of living crisis and how energy retailers respond matters right now” Shannon Hyde, CEO, Simply Energy
Several speakers talked about the challenges the cost of living crisis brings and the need for cost-effective, sustainable solutions. Australia is facing the largest energy price increases in 16 years, which places further pressure on already stretched customer budgets. This adds additional urgency to the need for investment in transmission, wind, and renewables because they have the potential to reduce cost and create efficiencies, which can be passed onto customers.
For energy retailers, credit risk is also increasing exponentially as people are struggling to pay their bills. So while clean energy products are critical, they’re not the only thing energy retailers need to be thinking about and Shannon’s sentiment was that now is the time to start identifying how energy businesses can better support customers in this challenging landscape. What does good business look like today? What are the behavioural changes that need to be made, and what data can be surfaced to help customers manage their usage? Lisa Chiba, Managing Director at Momentum Energy echoed this with her business currently focused on affordability, and supporting and enabling customers through the energy transition.
For us at Flux, it is very clear that technology plays a vital role in enabling ways energy retailers can support their customers, such as surfacing data to gain valuable insights into usage patterns and inform decisions on everything from new products to tariff design to promotions and rewards. Plus, not only enabling clean energy products to be delivered, but also accurately billed.
Gender equality in the energy sector
“Less than 20% of employees in the energy sector are female.” Anna Collyer, Chair, AEMC
The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) is the export and policy adviser to the Australian government. Its remit is to make and revise the energy rules and provide advice. Anna discussed a number of initiatives the AEMC currently has underway around emissions reduction, price, quality, safety, reliability, and security. But the one that stood out for the Flux team was about the AEMC’s drive to achieve diversity and gender equality in the energy sector by 2030.
As a business with an exec team that is 50% female, having diversity in gender, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, background, skills, and experience is hugely important to us. Seeing this reflected in one of the AEMCs goals was exciting and we look forward to seeing a more balanced energy sector in the near future.
Empowering visionary companies to lead through the energy transition
If you’re an energy business seeking new technologies to redefine success in the new energy economy, Flux is here as a vital partner on our clients’ transformation journeys.
Our revolutionary billing platform makes it effortless to manage data complexity and rapidly deliver new energy products. And our team of experts are on hand to support our clients, every step of the way.
The future of energy is here. Our job is to help our clients capture the opportunity.