Utility Week

UTILITY Week 6th November 2015

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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UTILITY WEEK | 6TH - 12TH NOVEMBER 2015 | 19 from across 60 countries were submit- ted to the competition. Of these, 111 shortlisted works were put on show over the summer at the Royal Geo- graphical Society in London. If you have an asset or project you would like to see featured when we return the High Viz slot to its original focus, please send your pictures and details of the project to: paul.newton@fav-house.com or call 01342 332085 Pipe up Neil Pennington A s with so much in our lives, the world of energy is changing and, before the end of the decade, could be unrecognisable. Everyday items such as thermostats, smoke detectors, cameras, washing machines and fridges will act in uni- son to respond to our routines and make our lives easier. Light switches as we know them will become obsolete as houses sense our presence and adjust accordingly. And consumers will become "prosumers" with people selling energy to their neighbours, and maybe even paying council tax in kilowatts rather than pounds. People have got used to deciding what they want, how and when they want it, and the price they are will- ing to pay. This personal empowerment makes change in our industry inevitable and will see consumers' relation- ship with energy go through the same kind of evolution we've had with our phones over the past 15 years. If energy companies don't deliver this change, some- one else will. We know how disruptive new entrants can be and how, with almost no assets, they can transform an industry. Look at Uber or AirBNB: who could have imagined a successful hotel provider without any hotels? Or a taxi firm with no taxis? In the energy industry, tra- ditional business models need overhauling. We're already doing small-scale tests on how decentralised energy generation, management and marketing might work. At RWE, we believe that traditional thinking must change and embrace this new world. What's called for is external innovation and new thinking. We need a new mindset and a much faster speed of innovation. That's why we're extending our reach and have set up a small innovation team in Silicon Valley. This isn't a return to the old days of big businesses looking to take over small companies: it's a leaner, fleeter approach based on collaboration and partnerships. We want to learn from the culture and mindset in Silicon Valley. As part of this, we're also teaming up with Stanford University – looking for them to help shape our culture, so our people can learn to be more entrepreneurial. We want ideas and approaches that will disrupt our busi- ness model from within. Who knows, maybe we will discover the equiva- lent of the Uber for energy. Neil Pennington, director of UK innovation, RWE Npower "Consumers' relationship with energy will go through the same kind of evolution we've had with our phones." "Consumers will become 'prosumers' with people selling energy to their neighbours" Operations & Assets

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