Energy companies seeking to cut electricity consumption need customers engaged more now than ever before. An EU association outlines how to win consumer cooperation.

Eurelectric's new report states increased investments in smart grid services will improve customer experience and adoption to the services resulting in falling of electricity prices
Eurelectric's new report states increased investments in smart grid services will improve customer experience and adoption of services resulting in the falling of electricity prices

A low-carbon electricity system is emerging and it is increasingly clear that the electrification of the heating and transport sectors will form a central element of a low carbon economy.

This is according to Eurelectric, the association of the European electricity industry, in a new report discussing measures that the region’s energy retailers can implement to improve customer experience.

The report 'The Customer in Command, The Smart Energy System of the Future', released by Eurelectric last week in Belgium, highlights six main customer-centred services with the potential to bring benefits to consumers.

The study identifies innovation of services including distributed generation, demand-side response, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, distributed storage, energy efficiency and access to meter data systems accelerating dramatically.

However, Eurelectric believes increased investments in the services will heighten customers’ learning and adoption of the services which in turn will result in falling electricity bills.

For example, increased investment in energy efficiency will allow consumers to rely on timely information and suggestions tuned to their individual needs, and choose efficient, electric and smart solutions enabling more energy savvy behaviour.

Distributed generation and storage will allow consumers to participate in community schemes, generate, store and consume their own energy with time of use rates.

Investments in electric vehicle charging infrastructure will give consumers access to a network of public and private owned points as customer choice is central to smart grid adoption.

The report reiterates that for smart energy systems to be practical, stakeholders need to make the system cheap, fair and simple and therefore should:

  • Phase out regulated retail prices
  • Remunerate DSO's system optimisation activities through effective, innovation-friendly incentive regulation
  • Ensure a market design for all downstream service providers that prevents any free riding
  • Provide a simple customer interface
  • Have clear roles and responsibilities for all downstream players
  • Arrange all behind the scene processes between market parties and network operators in a seamless way
  • Guarantee specific protection for vulnerable customers using social policy measures
  • Ensure the efficient design of grid tariffs and remove any unrelated component from the end-user price
  • Allow for fixed costs recovery by apportioning costs imposed on the system where originally incurred.