Embracing Innovation: Gentrack offers innovative solutions for sustainable energy retail

As the demand for clean and sustainable energy rises, legacy systems no longer possess the agility and flexibility required to meet evolving customer needs and sustainability targets.

The global energy landscape is going through a significant transformation, driven by the need to address climate change and achieve sustainable targets. Demand for renewable energy continues to grow, and the generation of this energy increases as well.

Traditional energy utilities are faced with the challenge of transitioning away from legacy software and embracing new, innovative propositions to support the energy transition.

In a recent interview with Geoff Childs, General Manager, Asia at Gentrack, Asian Power gained valuable insights into the importance of this shift and how Gentrack's cutting-edge technology is empowering energy retailers to lead the charge towards a cleaner and greener future.

Overcoming the limitations of legacy software

For many, outdated legacy IT systems have become a hindrance to rapid change. Childs even described them as an “anchor” that weighs down an organisation and prevents them from moving forward. He also noted that there have been little to no changes in IT  in the industry over the past 25 years. Given this, IT in the sector now needs to move fast in addressing the challenges that come with decentralisation and decarbonisation.

“As a result, their systems are difficult to operate and highly manual in the back office with minimal flexibility to adapt and change. So, the existing IT infrastructure at many utilities isn’t capable of dealing with the sort of new products required at all, risking the Net Zero targets,” he said.

For this reason, leading industry analysts are expecting that 20% of utility providers will replace their legacy billing systems by 2026, whilst the rest will follow. Childs believes this will present a growth opportunity, in that thousands of utilities could be modernised to be more sustainable.

In addition to the need to step away from outdated legacy systems, it is also important for utilities to adapt innovative propositions. The key to bridging the gap between renewable generation and increasing demand lies in reducing peak demand periods and adopting innovative business models.

Around 140 countries have made Net Zero pledges, and many have been working on achieving this by switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy. These efforts have so far been showing some results as electricity generation grew 7% in 2020 and will likely continue to rise further in the future.

To do this, the industry needs innovative propositions that can engage and incentivise consumers. This way, consumer behaviour will change and peak periods of demand will decrease, as energy is being used differently.

Childs stressed that customers today have an increased and continuously increasing interest in sustainability, so utilities always have to keep sustainability solutions in mind. These solutions could range from flexible time of use (TOU) tariffs to virtual power plant services.

Through these efforts, customer relationships shift from being commodity-driven and a simple “meter-to-cash process” into a more service-oriented and “product-to-profit relationship.”

“The energy transition is an incredible opportunity for utilities to reset their relationships with their customers. Those that do so stand to be the future leaders in this exciting market, those that do not risk being left behind,” Childs said.

This likewise has benefit potential for the retailer as it diversifies and increases revenue streams, reduces customer churn, increases customer satisfaction, and enables them to showcase how they are leading the energy transition.

Empowering customers for a cleaner future

Gentrack's client, EnergyAustralia, is leading the way with an exciting offering that revolutionises the energy market and allows customers to participate in the Net Zero journey. EnergyAustralia offers $0 upfront solar and battery solution, paired with a 7-year energy-as-a-service contract at a fixed rate. This removes the capital investment barrier for consumers, which can “hold many customers back from accessing these products and gives those consumers certainty of price as any electricity consumed has a fixed price per Kw for the duration of the contract,” Childs explained.

EnergyAustralia analyses each home’s usage profile before installing assets, instead of once the assets have been installed. This way, costs can be forecast and the company can utilise the assets so they can take advantage of wholesale revenue streams. By giving customers certainty of price and seamlessly deploying the assets, EnergyAustralia is directly engaging customers in the transition to clean, green energy.

Gentrack's cutting-edge technology empowers energy retailers to fast-track their innovation journey. By adopting low-code no-code design principles, retailers can create and launch new commodity and non-commodity products in minutes, resulting in faster time-to-value compared to legacy systems. Gentrack's product-to-profit approach also ensures that utility customers are at the heart of the design, enabling tailored propositions to be offered at the right price and time throughout the customer journey. Moreover, Gentrack's Distributed Energy Resource Management (DERM) module enables seamless integration with virtual power plant providers, ensuring smooth customer care and billing processes.

Partnering for the digital transformation journey

Embarking on a transformation journey is a crucial decision for energy retailers. The right partner can make the difference between success and setbacks. “As highlighted above, it is anticipated that the majority of utilities will transform in the next decade in order to meet the needs of consumers and policymakers for a sustainable future. This is critical to the future of these retailers; embarking on a transformation that is poorly delivered can set these businesses back by half a decade, so choosing the right delivery partner is a critical decision point,” Childs said.

Gentrack's unparalleled utility experience and utility-specific multi-play solution have earned them a 100% success rate over 35 years of working in 15 regulatory markets, including some of the most innovative in the world. Their transformation guide offers valuable insights to aid energy retailers in making the right choices for a seamless and successful transition.

Gentrack's innovative solutions empower energy retailers to embrace a cleaner and greener future by overcoming the limitations of legacy systems. By adopting cutting-edge technology and customer-centric approaches, utilities can bridge the gap between renewable energy generation and increasing demand. Partnering with Gentrack ensures a seamless digital transformation journey, backed by their unparalleled utility experience and utility-specific solutions.

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