A peek at the future?

Earlier this month a joint venture was launched in New York that will allow individuals in Brooklyn to buy and sell energy directly from one another.  TransActive Grid is the new start-up and it links an energy company and a blockchain developer (the technology beneath the Bitcoin digital currency) to provide subscribers with a secure network to measure their generation and consumption and then to buy and sell energy independently of the main utility companies.

Well that’s the headline, and it’s certainly an exciting prospect, and one that we’ve had a few heated conversations about around the table here at Ergoe Energy.  There is a growing belief that blockchain technology is going to revolutionise the way in which secure transactions can be made between individuals without the need for a central exchange.  For example the Bitcoin currency has no central bank as the internet and the blockchain forms the ledger in which all of the transactions are publicly written.

But like snooker, you have to keep at least one foot on the ground…  The utility companies are certainly not going to melt away, like glaciers in an ever warmer world, as more of us get solar panels on our roofs.  Who will continue to provide the power when there’s no wind or sun?  And of course there are the wires down which all of the electricity flows. Someone has to maintain them and ensure we invest in them.  In Brooklyn the new venture has had to be integrated into the existing utility companies infrastructure and systems.  I’ve not read the technical details (I can’t find them!), but I assume that the electricity will flow across the existing grid and through the existing utility meter.  In which case the cost of the “micro-grid” power will need to be subtracted from the utilities invoice.  All perfectly possible, and by the sound of it already dealt with in this proof of principle scheme.

It’s an exciting time to be in the energy business, but don’t count on having made your last call to a utility contact centre just yet!

“Power to the People” and would you like £500?

“Power to the People” and would you like £500?

Would you like to see £500 back in your bank account?

I would normally expect this offer to be followed by a well-rehearsed sales pitch, outlining the various pros and cons., except this time, the offer came to me in February and it was so low-key, that I didn’t act upon it until yesterday (April). That delay probably cost me about £100.

So what’s the deal?

Well, it’s your home energy bill.

When was the last time you changed your home energy tariffs? Was it six months, a year or two, or maybe you’ve never changed it?

I changed mine last night and will be paying £45 per month less than I have been. Over the next 12 months, all thing being equal, that will save me £540. That could be £1000 of your salary before tax (depending on your tax rate of course).

Still, it makes you think, what would you do with an extra £540?

Ergoe Energy is seeking crowdfunding to help develop an App that will switch domestic energy tariffs to the cheapest available tariff, on a month by month basis. Looking to the future, the roll out of Smart Meters may enable tariffs to be switch by the hour, with all the micro-transactions taking place within the Ergoe Energy platform.

If you would like to help make this a reality, visit the SEEDRS investment site today, make an investment in Ergoe Energy, and in return, you will get some equity and a stake in the future of the domestic energy ecosystem.

https://www.seedrs.com/ergoe-energy

I wonder if £540 would be enough to buy Citizen Smith/Robert Lindsay’s T-shirt, “Power to the People”?

 

The Customer Paradox – with great power comes more (or less) responsibility?

I recently came across a report from the Smart Grid Australia (SGA) board looking at the five energy grid or market disrupters that should be addressed by the energy industry. It’s a good read I have included a hyperlink below. The five disrupters they identified were: Ecosystem of the Grid, Distributed Generation and Storage, Future of Transportation, Renewable Economics and Cost to Value.

In this blog I would like to discuss their findings surrounding one of these, the Ecosystem of the Grid. In the UK, we are now confronted daily with a barrage of energy switching options that still seem to be ineffective in getting the bulk of our population to review their energy tariffs and suppliers. The SGA found that whilst the customer is at the centre of the ecosystem, only 30% understand it. The balance wants a reliable service with minimal cost and effort. IBM reported a similar profile in their Global Utility Consumer Surveys (2007 – 2011), identifying only 40% of energy consumers had an active interest in engaging with their energy choices.

The SGA noted a paradox in customer engagement, customers want to be more in control, but they do not necessarily want to put in any additional effort.

Ergoe Energy has recognised that the imminent digital revolution in the energy ecosystem, made possible by the roll-out of Smart Meters, will give consumers the ability to transform their energy economics, but that empowerment alone is likely to be unsuccessful in making real change unless engagement is improved. For that reason Ergoe is developing new solutions to create a highly interactive platform that will address the customer paradox listed above.

The Ergoe Energy App user can choose to ‘set and forget’ their tariffs for buying and selling energy, or they can elect to actively participate in the process.

Domestic power generation and improvements in power storage will enable domestic users to buy and sell electrical energy at the best available tariff and time to do so. Ergoe sees that the thousands of micro-transactions required will underpin a simple interface that enables energy users to switch tariffs and suppliers with far greater frequency, and to do so without the perceived hassle factors that have impeded greater progress to date.

Sources:
Understanding the Smart Energy Consumer (2013)
http://www.slideshare.net/j3juliano/juliano-ibm-aga-eei-041813
Building our Energy Future – The Five Disrupters (SGA Feb, 2015/6)
http://www.smartgridaustralia.com.au/building-our-energy-future-the-five-disrupters