The Smart Energy Business Revolution

Energy suppliers hold the power in the transformation of the B2B energy landscape

The connected business: What do your customers really want now?

As the ‘Internet of Things’ gains momentum, our B2B survey uncovers a growing interest in smart technology within business – and an appetite to spend.

The majority of businesses said they trust their energy supplier above engineering, technology or  telecommunications providers to install smart energy technology. However the margin is close and the market is open, so utilities need to act now.

Smart energy investment covered: Smart lighting, heating, distributed energy, electric vehicle charging points, energy consumption.
Who will be the winners? 2017 Customer Cup: Utilities, technology, engineering, telecommunications. Start 2017 -- Changing customer expectations, evolving tech, cost vs benefit perception, cyber security, security of suuply, new entrants -- finish 2020.

We surveyed over 500 UK businesses to understand their investment decisions in smart technology and the message was clear: utilities currently hold the power in the Smart Business Revolution and can take advantage of new revenue opportunities.

Utilities have the trust:

  • 55% of businesses trust energy suppliers to install smart energy technology.

It’s a tight race:

  • Engineering, technology and telecommunications suppliers are nipping at the heels of energy companies.

Market opportunity:

  • Over a third of industrial firms and one in five commercial organisations are planning to invest over £1m on smart energy technology in the next five years.

With many companies looking to invest in smart energy and businesses becoming more confident across the technologies, the door is wide open for truly innovative companies.  

However, there are some hurdles as well as opportunities along the way. To help you understand them, and your customers, we also asked companies their thoughts on:

  • Demand side management
  • Intended investment for individual smart energy technologies
  • Which business needs motivate technology investment
  • Security of supply
  • Which technologies are addressing business needs and being adopted
  • Energy strategy

Please get in touch with us if you would like to find out more and to see all of the survey results.

Key findings

Unsurprisingly, the main theme to emerge is concerns over cost, particularly that the benefits from an investment in smart technology won't outweigh the money required to set it up. Other key findings include:

Trust: The large majority of business trust their energy supplier (61%). 55% trust energy suppliers to instal smart energy technology.
Cyber: 57% said they would leave their supplier if they suffered a cyber security breach. 65% of the respondents are seriously concerned about cyber risk.
 Smart technology: 1/4 of respondents plan to spend over Ł500k on smart energy technologies within the next five years. 73% of thouse who have invested in smart technology have seen improvement in the running of their business.
Security of supply: 58% over the next five years, are taking measures to improve their secutiry of supply through on-site generation and storage. 42% of businesses are disengaged with off-grid options.

Through our research, we targeted four distinct customer segments:

Industrials are in manufacturing, engineering, construction and production, and employ more than 250 employees or turn over more than £50M (or both). They are already heavy adopters of smart energy technology, and are also planning heavy investment with one-third intending to spend more than £1m on smart energy technology in the coming year.

Commercials employ more than 250 employees, or turn over more than £50M (or both). They operate in sectors such as Consumer goods, Hospitality & Leisure, Retail, Asset Management or Banking & Capital Markets. Despite being slower to adopt smart energy technology than industrials, they will be future adopters, with 23% intending to spend more than £1m on smart energy technology in the coming years.

SMEs are businesses employing fewer than 250 employees and have a turnover below £50 million - they are Britain’s independent corner stores, hairdressers, car repair workshops and fast food retailers. They are less likely than other sectors to be heavy users or future adopters of smart energy technology, but will be an emerging opportunity as technology improves and costs continue to fall.

Public Sector & Institutional organisations operate in the areas of Central Government, Healthcare, Charities/Third sector organisations or Housing Associations. They are most interested in technology that will help them better monitor and manage energy consumption.

Contact us

Steve Jennings

Leader of Industry - Energy, Utilities & Resources, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7704 564513

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