Enhanced engagement in the energy sector part 1 - considering the future landscape

by Jen Gough Manager, PwC Research

Email +44 (0)7535 528185

On Thursday 21st February, PwC Research hosted a breakfast briefing highlighting the importance of customer engagement and enhanced engagement strategies in the energy sector.

Jen Gough opened the session by exploring how technological innovations and demographic changes in the UK could affect customer engagement within the sector and, in the first of a series of blogs, reflected on the future landscape.

While we can't predict the future, we know the home is becoming a network of automation and communication - a hub of digital innovation. We predict the smart device industry to be worth £10.8 billion in 2019 and we know from our weekly QuantiBus survey that approximately a third of UK drivers are considering purchasing an electronic vehicle.

We also know flexible working is on the rise and more people are creating a home office space, which is changing personal energy-usage habits. Alongside this, groups of communities are embracing microgeneration (e.g. solar panels) and becoming their own power suppliers.  

Technology is changing consumer behaviours quickly and PwC Research recognises that there has never been a more important time for organisations to engage consumers and understand their needs to support business planning.

Continuing this theme, Richard Fincham, one of PwC Research’s consumer vulnerability experts, asked attendees to consider the impact these changes may have on consumers in vulnerable situations, and who the vulnerable consumers of tomorrow may be. While it's difficult to predict the impact of future change on consumer behaviour, it’s only by engaging customers and stakeholders that we can develop our understanding. (We explore these factors in more detail in the second blog of this series.)

Alison Blair, a director in PwC Research, concluded by overlaying the regulatory environment, discussing Ofgem’s key priorities for 2018-19, some common business needs, and some of PwC Research's experience in supporting organisations with their engagement strategies.

Collectively, these experiences help crystalise our view that an engagement programme needs to be embedded in the DNA of organisations and that success will not be achieved by acting just for regulatory compliance - organisations must innovate and act to become better business and deliver  better outcomes.

At PwC Research we believe that there are eight key dimensions to making an engagement strategy truly standout. These will be discussed in the third blog of this series.

Kay Greenback from Ofwat and Alice Etheridge from National Grid ESO joined in a lively panel discussion and Q&A. Questions explored the impact of the changing landscape, vulnerability and B2B customers, and both Kay and Alice shared examples of effective triangulation – bringing together data from a range of sources and building this into business strategies.  Input from the floor prompted discussions around how legitimacy of stakeholder engagement can be ensured and Kay shared a number of learnings from PR19, which could be taken forward for ROII-2 and T2.

We would like to thank Kay and Alice for taking part in the panel discussion and also all of those who attended. We will be completing a series of blogs in this area, which will cover key themes such as vulnerability and engagement strategies.

PwC Research is all about connected insight – combining credible research with robust data and deep industry knowledge. If you are interested in hearing our point of view on enhanced engagement or would like to know more about PwC Research, please contact Jen Gough.


by Jen Gough Manager, PwC Research

Email +44 (0)7535 528185

Read more articles on