Experts predict that the increasing digitisation of the energy sector, such as the current rollout of smart meters to every home across Great Britain, will soon make it possible for supermarkets, online retailers, film subscription services, broadband providers and even banks, to provide energy as part of wider package of lifestyle services.
In a move away from traditional suppliers, many people said they would be interested in buying energy from companies such as broadband providers like BT, supermarkets such as Tesco and TV subscription services like Sky. Almost one fifth of people (18%) said they would be interested in buying it from a music streaming service such as Spotify.
Dr Jeff Hardy, Senior Research Fellow, Grantham Institute – Imperial College London, said: “It is wonderful to see that people share my excitement about new ways to deliver energy services in the future. Lifestyle service companies could transform tomorrow’s energy markets, competing to deliver what their customers need. Whether these are today’s energy companies or new entrants from other sectors will largely depend on who understands their customers best.
“Clearly there is an opportunity for consumer-focused energy companies to mobilise data and digitalisation to deliver services that are in tune with the way customers live their lives, although there are regulatory, market design and consumer protection issues that will need to be addressed along the way.”
Sacha Deshmukh, Chief Executive of Smart Energy GB said: “This research provides a hugely exciting glimpse, for businesses and consumers, into what a future with a fully digitised energy infrastructure will look like. Not only will our home services become more streamlined, but a world of possibilities will open up when it comes to buying gas and electricity.
“That future isn’t as far away as you might think – the option to buy energy in a different way, from a different type of company, is a key benefit of smart meters. Not only that, but the enthusiasm of smart meter users for lifestyle service packages is further evidence that the smart meter rollout is an essential step on the path to a smarter world.”
Smart meters are coming to every home in Britain at no additional cost – they send energy data automatically to suppliers and allow consumers to see how much energy they are using in pounds and pence. In the future, consumers will be able to share this data with innovators offering them new lifestyle services.