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3 major themes that fueled one of Europe’s biggest energy industry gatherings

Earlier this month, Europe’s energy leaders gathered at European Utility Week (EUW) in Amsterdam.

The annual conference—which assembled delegations from more than 250 utilities across Europe—featured nearly 400 informative presentations from a diverse cross-section of industry experts.

Although the conference proceedings spanned scores of topics and developments—from renewables to the smart grid—we saw three central themes come up again and again. Here’s what they were:

1. Europe is facing dramatic energy challenges

It’s well-known that European energy providers are facing a trilemma of issues: the need to expand clean energy sources; the need to ensure a secure energy supply; and, the need to maintain affordable energy prices.

The importance of these issues was recently underscored by a report showing Europe’s average residential energy prices are now more than double the rates in the United States.

EUW highlighted a wide range of solutions for utilities, ranging from consumer engagement to energy storage. In the video below, hear Opower president Alex Laskey’s take on what utilities can do to meet the challenges of the 21st energy landscape.

 

2. Consumer engagement is a must for utilities' bottom line

We know that engagement is vital for improving the customer relationship. Customer metrics across many utility geographies prove that point: when consumers feel engaged about their energy use, they are far more likely to trust their utility.

But, what does engagement actually do for a utility’s bottom line?

As it turns out, there’s an incredibly strong business case for utility customer engagement. According to our research, every household that a European retailer engages can generate an incremental €15-€40 in annually recurring revenue. That’s equivalent to a 20 to 55 percent increase in the value of the customer relationship.

To hear more about the business case underlying utility customer engagement in Europe, check out this informative EUW panel discussion featuring Julien Metge (Netatmo), Jean Kiessling (Deutsche Telecom), and John Webster (Opower).

 

3. Europe's energy providers are already innovating to transform the customer experience

Industry studies have shown that about two-thirds of energy consumers are clamoring for energy management services from their utility, both in Europe and across the globe.

While many energy providers have fallen short of customer expectations to date, utilities aren’t oblivious to the needs of their customers; tremendous progress is being made with customer engagement across Europe.

As of late, the UK has been among a handful of countries leading the charge. Its Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) recently established a 23% annual energy bill reduction target by 2020, as a strategy to meet climate goals and keep energy costs in check.

On the industry side, pioneering energy providers like E.ON UK—which in spring was named the European Cleantech Corporation of the Year—are doing their part. The company is one of several European providers that has launched a cutting-edge consumer web portal to empower customers with the personalized information they need to save energy and money.

 

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