Strategy and Best Practices
Article | July 8, 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.
Solar+Storage, Strategy and Best Practices
Article | September 17, 2022
In the last forty years, there has been a dynamic increase in the use of solar energy in the United States. As recently as 2018, an additional 10.6 GW of solar power was harnessed, bringing the country's total use up to 64.2 GW. Yet this apparently successful addition still only contributes 1.6% of the total electricity used across the States. However, with many new solar power technologies on the horizon, the increase could soon be much greater.
Article | July 16, 2022
Renewable energy has transformed our planet. It's raised awareness of global warming and climate change. Both governments and ordinary people are seeking to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy because of this awareness. Technology's involvement in this revolution cannot be understated. Thought a few years ago that solar energy would power average houses in small communities. Thanks to the widespread manufacture of lithium-ion batteries, EVs will be the next big thing.
Major Renewable Energy Technologies Transforming the Future
Despite the name, this is not a conspiracy theory about global dominance. Modern technology converts electricity into synthetic fuels, thermal energy, and hydrogen. This breakthrough technology can minimize fossil fuel dependence by focusing on synthetic ones. It can also help with efficient storage solutions.
Green Appliances and Machines
Leading household appliance makers are launching solar-powered appliances. This is a wonderful start toward minimizing family power expenses. Many households have begun to invest in gadgets such as solar air conditioners.
Distributed Generation Systems
Several locations are experimenting with distributed generation. This reduces dependence on a centralized grid and simplifies transmission and distribution. It also reduces grid dependability and failures.
Most European nations are actively electrifying to cut carbon emissions. This is not the same as a power supply. Rather, it implies developing assets and infrastructure that can shift and aid in the adoption of electricity. Providing public EV charging stations is a step towards electrification.
Prominent private companies such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft have made significant commitments to renewable energy in recent years. While some governments are actively attempting to make the shift, others have yet to take environmental challenges such as global warming and climate change seriously. Technological breakthroughs are helping to make the transition to renewable energy greener, quicker, and more economical.
Article | July 15, 2022
As the worldwide use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the energy market is expected to reach $7.78 billion by 2024, with a CAGR of 22.49% from 2019 to 2024, it is easy to see why it's a popular topic on the minds of many leading brands in the energy sector, as well as investors looking to reap the future perks that AI could bring to the energy industry.
According to BIS Research, North America is expected to be the largest market for AI in energy through 2024. However, Asia-Pacific is expected to rise rapidly over the same time due to the rising need for more decentralized power production.
Investment Opportunities in AI-based Energy Industry: Economic Visibility
AI's economic viability and progress in the energy business can be attributed to numerous factors, including:
The desire to increase operational efficiency.
Increased interest in energy efficiency.
Decentralized electricity generation is being expanded.
Battery storage solutions are gaining popularity.
Since artificial intelligence has a wide range of applications, there are several investment opportunities in the energy industry.
Upstream Oil and Gas
Enhance efficiency and decrease downtime, which is critical for hydrocarbon companies owing to volatile oil prices and demand, to lessen the environmental implications of energy generation and consumption.
AI has the potential to enhance interactions between contact centers and consumers. Utilities that outsource to contact center providers can suffer significant fees. This is where AI, particularly when combined with natural language processing (NLP), can assist contact center operators by listening to conversations and automatically noting information in the appropriate apps, helping operators to make calls more reliable, effective, and satisfying to customers.
Smart Homes and Cities
AI integration benefits smart meters and smart energy management systems as well. Many residences and towns can utilize AI to collect real-time data and apply it in a number of ways to function more effectively and efficiently, enhancing sustainability while also making a living more comfortable and cities more accessible.
Monitoring Trends in Energy Generation and Consumption
Artificial intelligence is being utilized to assist energy companies and customers in recognizing and tracking patterns in energy generation and consumption. AI, for example, can predict the potential output of a certain wind or solar plant.
Banking, finance, and trade are some of the suitable businesses that can profit. For example, AI and machine learning can be used in algorithmic trading, which involves utilizing computer programs to make trades in the energy business at speeds and frequencies that any human trader would consider inconceivable.