Article | March 10, 2020
In the second post in this series, which began by analyzing the opportunities in renewable energy, we'll see how—without code—you can use business rules as an architectural layer to help justify any solar lending project. In part one of this series, I outlined a few of the considerations for community and regional financial institutions (CRFIs) that are considering entering into solar and other renewable energy source lending markets. Next, I’m going to explore a few of the ways that lenders can help prospects to economically justify these projects with Progress Corticon, the digital decisioning software engineered to manage complex rules and calculations, integrate with a countless big data sources, and implement it all without writing a line of code.
Article | April 1, 2020
The U.S. renewables industry was left out of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill passed last week, but the battle is far from over. Congress is already considering further legislation to rescue the economy from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, and renewable energy groups are ready to bring their proposals back to the table. As with the last stimulus bill, the industry's plans center on securing changes to two federal policies: the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar power and the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind power. Renewables groups have a powerful claim to make as they push for those changes: Unlike many of the industries seeking hundreds of billions of dollars in collective aid, the desired tweaks to the renewable tax credits would not add significantly to the federal government's costs.
Article | February 24, 2020
The U.S. reached a monumental 2 million solar installations in 2019. As more people look to save money through solar energy, many different options for doing so are becoming available. The U.S. Department of Energy defines community solar as “a solar-electric system that… provides power and/or financial benefit to… multiple community members.” These voluntary programs allow community residents to enjoy the perks of solar power without the large initial investment. The solar panels and related equipment are set up in a central location, so residents don’t need to buy and install equipment on their personal properties. The power produced by these projects is then shared by a community, and the hardware is either owned by the community itself or by a third party (i.e. Jaton’s community solar projects in California).
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.