Key Points
  • Increasing Switching, Reaching Vulnerable Customers & Building Consumer Confidence
  • Rewarding Loyal Customers, Smart Technology, Opportunities of Data & New Services
  • Challenger Suppliers, New Market Entrants, Decentralised Energy & Regulation
Guest of Honour

Roger Witcomb Competition and Markets Authority

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Overview
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.

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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.

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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.


Agenda
Start

08:30 - 09:00
Registration, Coffee and Networking

 

09:00 - 09:05
Chair and Policy-UK Welcoming remarks

 

09:05 - 09:40
Competition and Markets Authority Energy Market Investigation – A Year On

 

Speakers

Roger Witcomb Competition and Markets Authority

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Daniel Gordon Senior Director - Markets, Competition and Markets Authority

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09:30 - 10:25
Switching that Delivers for the Consumer - Increasing Switching, Reaching Vulnerable Customers & Building Consumer Confidence

 
    • With the number of consumers switching energy supplier reaching a six year high in 2016 what can be done to build on this success, particularly from more expensive Standard Variable Tariffs (SVTs) and the majority who switch infrequently?
    • How far is the push for consumers to switch suitably driving competition in the market? Is Consumer laziness/hesitancy preventing greater competition and price cuts?
    • How can those most in need of competitive energy: the vulnerable; fuel poor and those on low or fixed income, be engaged and encouraged to ‘shop around’?
    • Will the price cap for prepayment customers be sufficient in reducing their energy bills?
    • To what extent should suppliers seek to simplify the range of tariffs available to consumers to increase confidence, understanding and engagement with the market?
    • Conversely would expanding the range of innovative tariffs such as time-of-use tariffs result in increased benefits and to what extent are consumers are ready for this kind of change?
    • What are the expected outcomes of Ofgem’s ‘sticky customers database’ trial put forward in the CMA report? 
    • How far will the Ofgem Supplier League Table published in December increase transparency of tariffs?
    • With the CMA recommending a more active role for Price Comparison Websites (PCWs) in facilitating consumers switching, what measures need to be taken to ensure PCW access to meter data is secure?
    • What can the energy sector learn from other consumer markets about regulating PCWs and what are the expected final outcomes of the CMA market study into digital comparison tools following the update paper published in March?


      Speakers

      Anthony Pygram Partner - Consumers & Competition, Ofgem

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      Gillian Cooper Head of Retail Energy Markets, Citizens Advice

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      10:25 - 10:50
      The Retail Energy Market

       

      10:50 - 10:55
      Chair’s Closing Comments

       

      10:55 - 11:20
      Refreshments and Networking break

       

      11:20 - 11:25
      The Chair’s Welcome Back

       

      11:25 - 12:10
      Emerging Business Models for Energy Suppliers - Rewarding Loyal Customers, Smart Technology & New Service Opportunities

       
      • What emerging business strategies are there for energy suppliers - in particular how to retain ‘loyal customers’, reward loyalty and reduce complaints?
      • How can energy suppliers turn the increasing volume of customer data to deliver better customer service?
      • What opportunities are there for energy suppliers to move into other consumer services?
      • How best can the proliferation of smart appliances and the smart meter rollout be utilised to empower the consumer?
      • What is the latest thinking to address the interoperability issue of meters installed in the foundation SMETS1 rollout losing the 'smart' functionality if customers switch supplier?

      12:10 - 12:55
      Reshaping of the Energy Market - Challenger Suppliers, New Market Entrants, Decentralised Energy & Regulation

       
      • What are the options to limit the volatility of the market in the context of the demise of GB Energy in November 2016 and Flow Energy being put up for sale?
      • What needs to be done to ensure challenger suppliers are able to effectively compete; whilst simultaneously being financially secure?
      • What is the likely result of potential Ofgem stress tests of energy suppliers?
      • How far are the growing number of local authority energy suppliers expected to change energy retail market?
      • With BEIS and Ofgem due to respond to respond to their smart, flexible energy consultation this spring to what extent will smaller, locally focussed suppliers feature in a plan for a smarter energy system?
      • To what extent will the entrance of new tech players such as Nest into the energy market expected to change the structure of the market and empower consumers?
      • With MPs demanding immediate action to stop householders being ‘ripped off’ after recent price rise announcements by the ‘Big Six’ and the CBI has warned capping energy bills would knock investor confidence, what ways can/should the Government intervene?
      • How far is the energy market expected to feature in the soon to be published government green paper that will examine markets that are not working efficiently or fairly?

      12:55 - 13:00
      Chair’s and Policy-UK’s Thanks

       

      End

      Speakers

      Gillian Cooper Head of Retail Energy Markets, Citizens Advice

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      Daniel Gordon Senior Director - Markets, Competition and Markets Authority

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      Anthony Pygram Partner - Consumers & Competition, Ofgem

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      Roger Witcomb Competition and Markets Authority

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      Venue details

      Central London


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