Since deregulation, the energy and utilities industries have counted among the most complex, posing virtually insoluble problems thanks to a variety of trends and counter trends. That was the key conclusion of discussions in the Energy & Utilities insight session at The Premier Business Leadership Series, which was led by Klas Liljegren, Managing Director of Vattenfall.
From 2000 onwards these industries have had to learn new skills such as volatility and risk management. They have also had to transition from a supply-led business model to understanding how to deliver and communicate benefits to consumers, who are confronted with a mind-boggling array of choices. Here in Berlin alone, the energy consumer has 123 live offers and the only people who are certain to make money are the companies that provide advice on the best offer.
It takes ten years to build a power station, which will then have an active life of 40 years. Yet short term fluctuations in demand – such as the collapse of industrial demand following the 2008 economic crisis – can throw all the calculations into disarray. Politicians and the public set challenging and contradictory goals such as driving down both prices and emissions, which mean the energy sector often finds itself out of step with prevailing opinions and actual behaviour, which are themselves often incongruous.
These industries are therefore becoming faster and more professional in their use of analytics, new delivery channels and better communications. Ultimately however, the data is hard to digest and for the moment at any rate, the public’s judgment is based largely on perception and trust.
Truly, this is a tough nut for the business intelligence community to crack!