In Asia Pacific, almost two-thirds of consumers expect their energy providers to do more to help them to reduce their electricity bill, and power utilities that help them to do so will be more likely to be keep and win customers, according to a 2014 research paper by consultancy Accenture.
In 2016, Tuas Power rolled out an Integrated Energy Management Solution to help businesses and building managers get real-time data on their energy consumption, manage usage and oversee their tenants’ electricity accounts, meters and billing.
In Japan, the country’s largest electric utility, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), plans to install 27 million smart meters by 2020 to help its customers to monitor and manage their power consumption.
South Korea’s largest electric utility, the Korea Electric Power Corporation, intends to spend US$115 million (S$216 million) between 2015 and 2017 to develop smart grids and other technologies that will help its customers improve their energy efficiency.
The future of electric utilities
Consumers’ rising expectations have forced utilities to become more customer-centric in other ways, noted executives during an afternoon of discussions about innovation in energy services in Singapore.
The panel discussions, organised on March 29 at the city-state’s Singapore Manufacturing Federation headquarters, were a curtain raiser for the Asian Utility Week 2017 event that will be held in Bangkok on May 24 and 25.
Attendees noted that more utilities are now offering services such as energy audits and demand response plans; incentive schemes that pay customers to voluntarily reduce their electricity use during peak periods.
One company that specialises in demand response plans is Red Dot Power, a Singapore electricity retailer. It is working with other companies to provide renewable energy and energy storage solutions. Its chief executive Vijay Sirse said: “The utility market is moving towards an integrated services model rather than being just a single service provider.”
Geraldine Tan, general manager of Singapore power generator and electricity retailer PacificLight, agreed. “What we offer is not just electricity, but other things that our customers need, such as energy efficiency audits,” she said.
Partnering electric utilities
Several speakers noted that a particularly effective way to save energy comes from utilities working with companies’ own internal systems. Bert Deprest, vice-president of energy solutions at Singapore utility Senoko Energy, pointed to the example of air-conditioning systems in commercial buildings.
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