Article | March 22, 2021
Despite rising energy costs and dwindling customer ratings of the ‘Big Six’, over 37% of Brits still believe they are getting a good deal when it comes to gas and electricity.
Here, Keith Bastian, CEO of rising independent Outfox the Market, challenges those age-old perceptions that are damaging consumer bank balances…
I have never quite understood the notion of pay more for the same service. Except that last part, is really where the difference lies.
As I have made my way through the energy market, it seems clear to me that we are facing a common notion.
Age-old dinosaurs, that have relied on name status and brand power to retain customer loyalty, despite not providing anything different or any value-added service, give the impression that customers are somehow safer with them. That is the biggest misconception.
We at Outfox the Market would like to challenge that.
Of course, when I speak in such a way, I am referring to the ‘Big Six’, those long-established brands whose share in the energy market whilst substantial, is increasingly coming at the cost to its customers.
For example, in the latest independent customer rankings from Which, it was determined that the traditional big energy companies had some of the lowest scores for customer service and value for money, yet some customers still feel secure with them.
On the contrary, rising independents, such as ourselves, were scoring highly in these areas and this is where I feel the difference lies.
Regardless of your opinion on fossil fuels and/or renewables, it is more the value of looking after your customers, understanding their concerns and dealing with them efficiently that has become somewhat lost for the ‘Big Six’.
It is true that they have a larger proportion of customers to serve with a larger workforce, but that should not be to the detriment to the service they provide.
What were are seeing now, as evidenced by the recent Ofgem price hikes, is the ‘Big Six’ once again failing consumers in these areas, with most of the top names putting costs up by £96 a year on average as of April.
I am not one to not acknowledge that energy firms are tongue-tied in some respects in passing regulated costs on; there are times when we must. However, customers could also benefit from a little research.
Even with growing numbers of consumers switching, nearly 60% of all households in the UK are still on standard variable rate tariffs, those that are subject to the incoming Ofgem hikes.
So, the real question is why aren’t more customers switching? Heritage, loyalty and brand association. These facets really should not come at cost of paying more for energy.
I really believe it is down to time-sensitivity and a misunderstanding around the barriers to switching, with cost somewhere in the middle.
According to MoneySuperMarket, 75% of us would switch if we could save £149.99. A hefty figure, but why not the £96 highlighted earlier? That is still pretty good, and something that would add up nicely over the years.
I understand we are time-poor as a nation, it’s well publicised, but we’re all well averse in switching phone contracts and insurance deals, so why not where our energy comes from?
Truth be told, I believe it’s an age-old notion that energy is ‘just something that comes with the house, not worth the hours or hassle to change.’
But in all honesty, it takes a matter of seconds to switch. Firms such as ourselves offer this and more via a quick and easy quote online. Best of all, many energy providers will help manage the switching process for you, contacting your current provider and notifying them of your intentions.
I would also like to challenge this notion that once an energy firm ‘gets you’, you are ‘locked in’ for years upon end in ever rising contract costs.
If you are on a standard variable tariff, you can switch to a new provider at any time. What’s more, even if you are in a fixed term energy deal, which can be subject to exit fees, sometimes the cost involved outweighs the savings you can make with your new provider.
Customers must do their best to ask more of energy firms, check the service they are being given and hold it up against national bill averages. Compare what your neighbours, friends and family are paying under similar living circumstances, and weigh up if you are being given a fair deal.
Living costs and regulated price hikes are always going to be an ever present worry, so I call on both customers and energy firms to do their due diligence in these respects.
Age-old energy firms relying on their reputation must take a serious inward look at their lessening market share to understand why they are failing customers.
It’s time to make a change now, both from business attitude and a consumer standpoint; switching is quick, easy and a vital notion to bear in mind, as both retaining custom and saving money becomes an ever-growing sticking point in the energy market.
Article | March 16, 2020
Transformation and how it is changing the world around us at an accelerated pace. We started the conversation with highlights on The Digital Transformation of Smart Facilities and The Digital Transformation of Smart Process Industries and examined the impact of digital transformation being seen in both the Foodservice and Process Industries. In the final installment our new video series, which features the Presidents of each mCloud line of business, we chat with Dave Weinerth (President, Smart Energy) on how digital transformation is impacting the wind industry. The wind industry, in regards to how they see digital transformation is really interesting. Wind turbines are in hard environments, they’re complex machines that spin-off a lot of data into hundreds of different channels and operators are just now getting a chance to delve into what can be done with that data with some of the tools that are available in the cloud, through artificial intelligence and additional sensors that they may want to put onto their machines to assess different aspects of performance.
Article | March 29, 2020
Energy plays an important role in our daily lives. Shifting to renewable sources of energy to support climate change offset is an outstanding solution that must be persistently followed, to meet the future generations’ energy needs. The world will never stop consuming renewable energy. As each nation grows and develops as a community, its needs for power increases. It’s a natural process. But that doesn’t alter the fact that our world is impacted by it. More resources on the planet are being used and converted into fuel. Reliable energy supply is essential in industries such as heating, illumination, industrial equipment, transport, etc.
Article | February 23, 2020
2020 may turn out to be the year of the battery. The Trump administration has made grid-level battery backup a focus of its Energy Storage Grand Challenge -- an effort to create an all-American supply chain for advanced battery technologies. Meanwhile, Texas, which is the only state to run its own electricity grid, is offering up to $9000 a megawatt-hour for peak summer battery power. And on the other side of the world in South Australia, Tesla has been asked to up the capacity of its mammoth battery in the desert to 193.5 megawatt-hours, or about double the storage capacity of the entire Texas state grid.