Our Strategy

Our Strengths

Strategy in Action

SMART rollout

During 2019, we commenced our next generation smart metering rollout - the great enabler for a shared energy future, specifically in the domestic market.

One of our key investments has been in the new SMART metering technology, which is allowing households and businesses to track and manage energy consumption. Moreover, the Government has called on all energy suppliers to install SMART meters in 53m British homes by 2020. This represents a significant and positive policy shift.

We deliberately held off rolling out the traditional SMETS1 meters due to the commercial interoperability challenges this technology faces.

Instead, our planned SMART programme, based on second generation, ‘SMETS2’ meters and other advanced integration technology, will give our customers the option to monitor energy usage via an app on their smartphone. This will eliminate the need for a display in the home, further reducing waste and the associated environmental footprint.

Whilst SMART meters are the foundation of this new energy market, it is the data they produce, distilled at the right time, securely, with the required permissions, that provides real customer value. The data will provide with greater insight into our customer’s behaviours, preferences and habits. It is this added focus on data across the organisation which is allowing us to develop better business intelligence and integration capability. A better understanding of when our customers consume their power allows us to refine our tariffs and purchase more effectively, allows us to forecast and bill more accurately and provide greater insight to improve customer service and working capital improvements. Transparency around usage will help give us a commercial edge.

Data will empower consumers of all types to understand the potential value of investment in new technologies like energy usage control, storage, electric vehicles and renewable energy. Ultimately technology allows us to deliver on our brand and customer promises, become more engaged with our customers and help to deliver a truly tailored product to address customer needs.

Our vision for the future is to see energy as a service, enabled by SMART technology. Our pipeline of new products will continue to enhance our overall customers propositions.

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Electric vehicle growth

In Zap-Map, we have invested in the leading electric vehicle data platform, creating huge opportunities for services in the crucial area of clean transport and a catalyst for the sharing economy.

Zap-Map is the go-to app for Britain's 200,000 electric vehicle ("EV") drivers - planning routes, identifying charge points, checking their availability and sharing power. Its 70,000 monthly users can choose from over 11,000 charging devices located across service stations, car parks, retail sites and private driveways from its easily navigable & intuitive app. Both the number of EV drivers in the Zap-Map community and the number of charge points in its network have been increasing rapidly, which enhances the data by actively logging the status and availability of the national charging network.

The growth potential for the UK EV market is compelling. The UK Government has targeted 60% of all new vehicles on British roads to be electric by 2030, with the UK EV market forecast to grow at an annual compound growth rate of over 25% in that timeframe. Government subsidies & exemptions for EV purchases, home & workplace charging, and annual road tax exemptions are encouraging rapid adoption of EVs, with over 30 new EV models1 are expected to enter the market in the next twelve months alone, while £400m has been pledged to the Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund already.

This growth is continuing at a rapid rate, and in May 2019 the number of EV charging locations in the UK overtook the number of petrol stations in the UK; a key milestone in diminishing the perceived range anxiety for current and future EV drivers. Alongside this, we continue to work with a range of businesses to put EV charging where it is needed. From destinations to workplace charging. A greater number of businesses are reacting to the societal shift in EVs. Our EV knowledge and proposition allows them to provide charging and clean power for their customers and employees. We are encouraged by this investment, our positioning in EV and the potential for the UK EV market in general.

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Decentralisation and partnerships

We continue to work with multiple partners to bring our ‘decentralised’ energy vision to life.

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HAVEN – the home as a virtual network

In our HAVEN project researching vehicle to home energy sharing, we are developing how clean transport and the smart home interact. We are working closely with Honda, Upside Energy and Salford University to test how EVs can impact home energy efficiency. The project is exploring how an EV battery source could be attached to home energy systems such as solar panels, heating and hot water. This supports the development of our battery storage and home energy services proposition for domestic customers. We see this as an exciting area of new development as far as energy in the home is concerned.

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Alongside our localised power strategy, Zap-Map’s Zap-Home feature also highlights selected private charging locations, where households and businesses have chosen to share electricity with other Zap-Map registered drivers. Access times and charging costs are set by the owner – or supplier – of each one, with some choosing to offer electricity for free. Where peer-to-peer payments apply, these can also be securely made within the Zap-Map app.

In the future, we will be working with the Zap-Map application to integrate this seamlessly alongside energy tariffs, billing process and overall energy consumption analysis. Our ability to integrate both the supply and energy services solution for our customers, is a vital next step on our energy journey.

Data and digital capability linked to new energy technologies will be the key to the future low carbon market, and we are looking to build on our existing position by continue to invest in this both in 2019 and beyond.

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Eden project

In 2018 we extended our partnership with the environmental educational charity, the Eden Project to include a battery storage trial. As well as powering the events, we set up an experiential feature for people to engage with and learn about renewable clean energy and climate change. This battery storage trial project is allowing us to test and bring to market a scalable battery storage proposition for businesses We view commercial battery storage as another area of growth in the future energy market.

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Our Home Innovation Trial is part of the European-wide BestRes project, which is researching how to better integrate renewable generation into energy grids. We provided each household that signed up to the trial with a smart hub and linked app, which measured energy usage by different types of appliance. The aim is to explore and better understand energy usage and management in the home.

The data is analysed to establish baseline consumption profiles, allowing us to see the savings each household could make by changing their usage behaviour. Throughout the trial, we used the data to create engaging content to educate people about where they were using the most energy. The trial entered its final stage at the end of 2018, in which the households were encouraged to turn their new insight into energy-saving action.

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