The needs of energy customers are changing fast and suppliers will have to change too.
That’s according to Mark Hanafin, the CEO of Centrica’s Business division, who spoke to ELN at our Energy Live Future Conference in Leicester last week.
He said the days of turning on extra power stations to deal with spikes in demand were coming to an end, to be replaced by a more decentralised system where the roles of supplier and customer are more ambiguous.
Mr Hanafin said technology and the growth of renewables was orchestrating the change: “It’s driven by other technologies that are becoming distributed, energy storage is coming into play, technologies around sensors and how we’re using energy, so all of that’s allowing the system now to balance, not just by turning on a new power station but by turning down demand and turning on distributed generation.”
He said this change from a consumer also becoming a producer or able to balance demand means the role of the supplier had to change: “We are an advisor and we are deeply into the technology – it’s a very different type of company from what you’d consider a utility.
“We need to be able to design, advise, consult, install, run, maintain, finance, we need to do all of that and that’s what we’re doing.”
Mr Hanafin said many customers will initially find this process complex and Centrica itself will evolve into a position to help.