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In competitive markets, energy supply is entering a new era. Technology changes such as smart metering, home energy management and electric vehicles are profoundly impacting everyone in the value chain, including energy retailers and the services they offer, and end customers and how they think about energy and interact with their suppliers.
Alongside technology evolution, competitive retail energy markets are seeing an enormous diversification in terms of both the types of companies supplying electricity and gas, and the range of services they offer (see figure). Competing with the traditional utilities are players from many different backgrounds – big consumer retail brands, companies investing in renewable energy generation, telecoms service providers, solar panel providers, home services one-stop shops or energy efficiency companies.
Transformation in energy service provision and customers
From their very diverse starting points for entering the world of retail energy, some of these companies are bringing new types of service in which electricity and gas supply is just one element of a broader proposition – for example, bundles combining energy with broadband, mobile and insurance, or services that package energy supply with home energy efficiency products. The permutations are very diverse, but many embrace the idea of using non-commodity and value-added services to create highly differentiated propositions aimed at increasing customer stickiness and establishing longer-term customer relationships.
Customers’ expectations of their energy suppliers are changing, too. Not only do consumers want to pay a fair price for their fuel, but they also expect their energy supplier to offer the same high levels of customer service that they enjoy from big retail brands or from their mobile service providers.
These transformations are placing new demands on the billing and customer care/customer information systems used by energy retailers, and challenging the traditional utility suppliers to upgrade their solutions. At the same time, there are opportunities for new vendors with modern, flexible solutions to challenge for market share.
Billing Strategies for Competitive Energy Retailers explores the service and billing strategies of some of the most dynamic new entrant energy suppliers, and evaluates the vendor landscape for utility billing and customer information systems.
The 90-page report identifies three specific billing and customer care challenges that competitive energy suppliers may encounter in this new era for energy supply – managing complex service packages combining energy and non-commodity services, overcoming billing constraints to enable smarter growth, and getting ready for smart metering – and uses case studies to illustrate a range of approaches.
The report profiles a broad selection of software vendors that offer billing and customer care solutions for competitive energy retailers, including the utility market leaders SAP and Oracle, local and international traditional utility vendors, and newcomers bringing real-time charging solutions.