A year on from the release of the CMA’s energy market reforms and as the debate about the merits or otherwise of an energy price cap continue, this forum will discuss the next steps for the Energy Retail Market, implications of price increase announcements (as three independent suppliers have backed calls for a price cap) as well as latest thinking on ways to empower consumers to find cheaper, better deals. Delegates will also examine new business strategies and markets available to energy suppliers and the developing role of new players and technologies in the sector such as local authorities and smart meters.
Switching that Delivers for the Consumer
With recent figures showing switching has hit a six year high delegates will discuss how to build on this success and increase the number of consumers switching and the impact (if any) of the Ofgem energy supplier league table. Attendees will also consider the results from Ofgem’s ‘sticky customers database’ trial expected to be released this Spring, alongside an examination of a more active role for Price Comparison Websites (PCWs) to assist customers find the right deals for them. Sessions will consider how to reach the vulnerable and ‘fuel poor’ to promote the benefits of switching and assess the role of innovative time-of-use tarrifs.
Emerging Business Models for Energy Suppliers
Sessions will provide an opportunity to consider emerging business strategies for energy suppliers; in particular how to retain ‘loyal customers’, reward loyalty and reduce complaints. Ways in which to utilise the proliferation of smart appliances and the smart meter rollout to empower the consumer as well as latest thinking on addressing the interoperability issue of smart meters installed in the foundation SMETS1 rollout losing the 'smart' functionality if customers switch supplier will also be discussed. In addition, delegates will consider the opportunities of the increasing volume of customer data to deliver better customer service and potentially provide other services.
Reshaping of the Energy Market
The morning will provide an opportunity for attendees to focus on the changing nature of the energy retail sector and whether the drive to increase the number of ‘challenger’ suppliers is increasing the risk to consumers (in the context of GB Energy’s closure in November). Attendees will assess potential impacts of stress tests being mooted by Ofgem and the prospects for central government intervention in the market (and what form that might take). The extent to which new tech players and local authorities providing energy services will disrupt the market and how they might fit into a more flexible and decentralised energy system will also be considered.