Engerati’s Week in Smart Energy: Billing, PV solar, microgrids

Engerati Week in Smart Energy
Engerati highlights how the way utilities handle billing determines the level of customer churn

Consensus is growing that utilities need to move to an energy services type model to compete and thrive in the changing energy world, with the fast declining costs of solar PV and storage and growing competition from new entrant service providers, writes Jonathan Spencer Jones, contributing editor of Engerati, the sister portal to Metering & Smart Energy International.

We asked Perry Stoneman of Capgemini what this model looks like? There is no one model, suggests Mr Stoneman, and it depends on what part of the system one chooses to attack, but whatever the starting point there are three pillars to build the model on, Capgemini believes – the customer experience, operational processes and the business model. [From Utility To Energy Services]

A utility that has started to evolve to an energy service model is Wien Energie. The company has recently established a new department which is focused on the provision of lifestyle services to support customers who are aiming to becoming prosumers. Customers will have access to a variety of products and services that will help them manage their energy production from different sources such as solar more efficiently. [Wien Energie Becomes A Service Company]

Originating in the US in response to blackouts caused by severe weather events or other grid weaknesses, microgrids are starting to change the energy landscape. Key for their development is easy to install and use solutions. [Microgrids Are Changing The Energy Landscape]

While the bill is inevitable, how the billing experience is handled by the utility can prove to be a major influencer on satisfaction and churn. For example in case of a high bill, in a survey in Europe 80% indicated a preference for receiving an alert. In order to improve customer satisfaction, utilities should aim to close the ‘gap’ between their performance levels and customer expectations, focusing initially on the interactions with the greatest potential to improve the customer experience. [Customer Shock and the Billing Experience]

Will Vantablack revolutionize the solar PV industry? This super-black material, said to be so dark that it reduces 3D images into two dimensional planes, absorbs 99.96% of incident light. A modified form is being trialled in energy applications. [Super Black Material Lifts The Bar for Solar Absorption Levels]

Enjoy these and our other stories on Engerati.