In depth: Who will be the ‘game changers’ in the smart metering race?


    From the end of 2015, the smart meter roll out will begin in earnest in Britain. By 2020, more than 53 million old-style gas and electricity meters will be replaced by new digital smart meters to more accurately measure and bill gas and electricity usage. The UK government predicts this will ‘revolutionise’ the energy market, whilst at the same time cut the cost of energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    This £11 billion national programme is expected to bring a raft of benefits to consumers and the wider economy, and it presents energy suppliers large and small with a major business opportunity to acquire new customers and engage existing ones.

    A recent report from the UK National Audit Office noted that only two of the big six suppliers had installed a ‘significant number of meters’ – so the market is wide open. For independent suppliers in particular, there is a real opportunity not just to level the playing field, but also to become ‘game changers’ in the market.

    Market is wide open

    There are signs that independent energy suppliers are already starting to create waves in the market. The Which? 2014 energy satisfaction survey published in January revealed that several independent suppliers achieved the highest customer
    satisfaction ratings – putting them wellahead of the largest suppliers.

    Good Energy, a green and independent supplier, topped the league table and other independent suppliers (including Ecotricity, Utility Warehouse, Ebico and Ovo Energy) were all ahead of larger competitors. Like Moonpig, many of these independent energy suppliers are bringing fresh ideas to the industry and adopting a very customercentric approach.

    Open Utility is a great example of this. It is championing the idea that customers should be able to buy electricity directly from renewable generators in their area. It also believes that suppliers should offer customers a personalised tariff – putting their customers…….

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    (Pic credit: Smart Energy GB)