I recently attended the Future of Utilities Summit in the UK with other senior leaders across the European energy sector. This is an event that, in the words of the organisers, challenges the ordinary, where collaboration is championed, and innovation comes to life.
The energy industry has not traditionally been collaborative, so an event such as this represents a much needed mindset shift and signifies an era where organisations at the forefront of energy innovation are open to taking a coordinated and strategic approach to how this looks.
There were some excellent, insightful speakers and lots of food for thought.
Here are my key takeaways:
It’s great to see that net zero is at the top of everyone’s agenda and this indicates growing awareness of the immense scope of the challenge. Getting there requires whole-of-industry cooperation if we are to meet the ambitious goals in front of us.
There is no room for antiquated legacy IT systems or vendors that won’t play nicely with others.
To that end, best of breed energy-specific tech stacks are the only way forward. Technology must not only enable innovation, but actually make it easy. The establishment of new tariffs, products, solutions and practices like micro billing must all be quickly and efficiently doable within a matter of hours or days, not months or (dare I say) years.
Energy retailers that continue with legacy systems and are not able to adapt quickly risk losing relevance and market share if they are unable to manage demand response and energy efficiency. At Flux we always say ‘you can’t sell what you can’t bill’ - the market won’t wait.
History is littered with failed and sub-standard billing replacement projects, so the hesitance execs may feel is understandable. But fear is not a reason not to change. Choosing the right suppliers who can mitigate risk and deeply partner to enable energy retailers to adapt to the future that is unfolding has never been more critical.
What all this boils down to is that energy businesses must transform, not only to remain relevant and competitive, but because the need for a new, more sustainable future of energy is vital. And as the organisations are the forefront of energy, we all have a role to play in creating a cleaner future. Partnerships are key - across technology to maximise value of solutions, across aligned organisations to transfer knowledge, and as an industry to maximise efforts. It’s certainly an exciting time to be part of the energy revolution.