Strategy and Best Practices, Industry Updates
Article | August 16, 2022
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 | July 16, 2022
While most businesses presently strive to achieve environmentally friendly operations and lower their carbon footprints, this argument might not sway all businesses or company executives. While using renewable energy sources or energy management systems has clear environmental benefits, businesses that want to improve their operations and decrease overhead expenses should also consider such technologies.
A steady and high-quality power supply is required for the smooth running of any kind of industry. Energy management systems (EMS) are used by a variety of industries to provide a consistent and dependable supply of energy.
Energy Management Systems: Advantages for a Business
Businesses and industries that use energy management solutions often achieve considerably bigger savings than those that do not use such systems. EMS examines all of the company's processes and enhances them for energy savings. The savings realized by the usage of energy management systems have a direct influence on the bottom line. Some of the most significant benefits of energy management systems are listed below.
Improved Brand Image
Using energy management systems result in lower power usage and, as a consequence, more environmentally friendly operations. Process optimization is recognized by business clients, customers, and suppliers because it shows excellence in planning and management.
Better Productivity and Competitive Edge
Reducing energy consumption via process optimization and effective load planning not only increases the overall productivity of industrial operations but also helps businesses to catch up with their competitors through continual process development.
Energy management systems can ensure at least a 20% decrease in energy bills. System administrators can save up to 10% of their total energy expenditures with modest investments and no upfront costs. Supervisors can save up to one-third of their initial overhead expenses by using energy management solutions in a planned and methodical manner.
An energy management system can help any organization save money on energy bills. There are many different energy management systems on the market, so make sure you choose one that is the right size for your business. If you're unclear about which system to buy, a good energy monitoring system can help you assess your performance and point you in the correct direction for process improvement.
Article | July 15, 2022
Have you ever thought about what would happen if a power station failed? Without electricity to bring itself back online, it would be near impossible for a station to begin operating again, like trying to set fire to paper without a flame.
This scenario would quickly lead to widespread chaos, with hospitals and schools plunged into darkness, refrigeration, and sanitation seriously hampered and transport systems brought to a standstill.
For these reasons (and many, many more), governments and electricity networks often have complex and rigorous plans in place to bring dead power stations back online at the earliest.
Article | June 8, 2022
The company behind famous Australian wine brands including Penfolds and Wolf Blass is embracing solar energy in a big way.
ASX-listed Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) is one of the world’s largest wine companies and has an ambition to be the “world’s most admired premium wine company”. A powerful way to win consumer hearts, minds (and wallets) these days is to have a strong focus on sustainability.
As part of its sustainability mission, wines in TWE’s portfolio will be produced using 100% renewable electricity by 2024. In a step towards this renewables goal in Australia, approximately 9,500 solar panels will be installed at Barossa Winery and Production Centre in South Australia, and Karadoc Winery in Victoria by the end of this year.
Collectively, the solar panels will generate more than 5,500 megawatt-hours of electricity annually, enough to supply the equivalent of 900 homes. Total capacity wasn’t mentioned, but given the annual output, I’d estimate it at around 3.75 MW.