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 | 9 Interview S ara Bell never intended to set up an energy sup- plier, freely admitting that she took the decision to create Tempus Energy reluctantly. Now she has 100 customers on the books and a business that's established enough to be challenging the government in court, the feisty former financier reckons that rolling your sleeves up and getting stuck into the market is the only way to achieve radical change. And that's just what she has done, Bell tells Utility Week on a grey autumn day in her small, buzzing office in Camden. Just eight months aer setting up the busi- ness, and two years since launching the groundbreak- ing technology that underpins it, Bell is confident in the business model and looking forward to further growth – though that may be on the other side of the Atlantic. In fighting mood, she tells Utility Week why her busi- ness model is better than the those of the big six, where the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has gone wrong – and what she's got in store for the government in her High Court challenge over the capacity market. Tempus Energy launched into the energy retail mar- ket in March to provide demand side response (DSR) to domestic and business customers, offering cheaper bills for those that agree to having their power switched off in times of peak demand. Bell has, she says, made energy supply as cost-efficient as it can be with her innovative DSR technology. Plan A was to sell the technology into the big six, but they weren't interested, leaving Bell little option but to strike out on her own and create independ- ent supplier Tempus. "We realised we wouldn't have any customers for our technology if we didn't," Bell explains, perched on a fire engine red sofa at one end of Tempus' open plan office. "Actually, by doing that, we have realised that's exactly the right strategy." The technology, which was conceived from her days in financial risk management, allows Tempus to shi consumer consumption from periods of high demand to low, cutting wholesale and network costs in the process and giving customers cheaper bills. Tempus' 100 custom- ers are split 70:30 between the business and domestic markets. While a good thing for customers, DSR is also benefi- cial to the energy system. It is set to become more com- monplace aer the smart meter rollout due to start next year, with National Grid already intending to use DSR to balance the grid over 50 per cent of the time by 2030. Bell is happy with the company's growth so far. The target market for its technology is properties with elec- tric storage heating, making up 10 per cent of the overall heating market. Tempus is particularly focused on social landlords, local authorities and student accommodation on the domestic side and organisations with large cool- ing or heating loads on the business side. Global giant Hertz and a fish processing plant in Scotland are among its first customers.

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