bjdlzx/Getty Images
Getty Images 682088554

Three Strategies to Gain a Competitive Edge in the Retail Energy Market

April 27, 2023
It's important for electricity suppliers and providers to redefine their priorities and efficiently deploy capital to the correct sources.

The retail energy market is rapidly expanding. And although this growth is good, it can lead to unexpected challenges for energy suppliers, especially when it comes to remaining competitive.

We live in a fast-paced world that’s becoming more dependent on technology. That’s why it’s so important for electricity suppliers and providers to redefine their priorities and efficiently deploy capital to the correct sources.

There are many ways to do this, and it may look different for each energy supplier, depending on the communities or types of customers it serves. Here are a few general ideas that can help electric power providers remain competitive in an ever-changing environment:

1. Enhance your sales and marketing efforts.

Today, electricity plays a vital role in the lives of individuals, families and communities. People need energy. Unfortunately, this dependence can lead to energy providers growing stagnant in their sales approaches.

Our customers can’t live without us, they think. We don’t need to offer any extra perks. So they only focus on providing the most basic services with no add-ons.

However, offering service bundles or promoting green energy can give you an edge over competitors. An enhanced sales and marketing effort can remind customers of the many ways your company adds value to their lives.

At the end of the day, people want convenience. Bundling multiple power services and embracing green energy initiatives (e.g., solar panel installation or wind energy) can help them save money and conserve power — a win-win for you and the community.

2. Harness the power of enhanced data to achieve more accurate forecasting and improve cost allocation.

Data is incredibly beneficial for your business, and the amount of data gathered through customer and operational transactions has grown exponentially. Unfortunately, this massive amount of information can make it difficult for suppliers to interpret it correctly and use it to improve operational areas such as rate modeling, predictive maintenance, customer segmentation, revenue leakage, load forecasting and more.

Data regarding consumption, customer contact information, monthly bills, customer activities and grid performance can benefit electric providers and suppliers. However, most data systems cannot share information, leading to data silos that don’t provide a holistic view of operations or customer behaviors.

Extracting data insights and integrating them with your customer engagement solution can help you make better predictions when it comes to load forecasting and understanding customer needs. Once this data is integrated, it will be much easier to access, allowing managers to make better and more informed decisions. Valuable insights into usage, operations and customer behavior that were previously overlooked will become apparent, saving time and energy.

3. Select a platform that can be integrated across all channels to make workflows more efficient and effective.

The right technology can make all the difference.

Ideally, electricity providers and suppliers should opt for a platform that can acquire, share, transfer, protect and store data sets, such as descriptive analytics and customer engagement analytics.

This can help model new rate plans to improve infrastructure, make better short- and long-term investments and identify trends in energy efficiency. A well-integrated solution will significantly reduce bad debt and false positives when observing abnormal energy consumption patterns.

The right platform should allow data exchanges between various systems and leverage advanced data collection methods through AI and machine learning. It should also have the ability to be deployed quickly, allowing for a short ROI cycle and fast results.

Simply put, the right platform allows suppliers to understand their customers better. This ultimately leads to better service, improved load forecasting and more informed predictions.

Each supplier is different, and its approach to change will vary depending on its customers, location and more. What works for one provider may not work for another. However, in an ever-changing energy and utility landscape, energy suppliers that harness the right technology, boost cost allocation efforts and focus on enhanced sales and marketing initiatives will make better and more cost-effective decisions while remaining competitive.

Ananda Goswami is the Senior Vice President of VertexOne Retail. Ananda previously served as the Chief Revenue Officer at EC Infosystems (acquired by VertexOne), a software service provider to the energy industry. Ananda leads activities related to VertexOne Retail marketing, business initiatives, alliances, public relations, corporate image, mergers and acquisitions. With more than 20 years of experience in the retail energy industry and business-to-business development, Ananda leads the team that focuses on expanding VertexOne Retail’s product functionality and client base.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of T&D World, create an account today!