Guest Blog: Mervyn Bowden – TELCAs could have new style entrants next year

Now that the dust has settled after the great TELCA event which surely sets new standards for awards in the energy sector I’d like to add my congratulations and thanks, […]

Now that the dust has settled after the great TELCA event which surely sets new standards for awards in the energy sector I’d like to add my congratulations and thanks, amongst all the other plaudits they’ve received, to the team at ELN who put a fantastic amount of effort into making the whole thing a spectacular success and one which will live long in the memory – certainly until next year’s event!

Uncanny how Sumit and co managed to position the date of the awards for a day when there were unprecedented and important announcements for national energy and it’s future………clearly inside information somewhere there.

The awards got me thinking (noisily, as usual) having seen the number and standard of entries to TELCA, that whilst there was a heavy focus on procurement amongst the entries, the need from customers going forward, particularly with the front page news today on how tight the grid margins are expected to be, will be for more holistic energy services provision across the piece. Some of this is happening already, not least with the Utilyx/Mitie, Power Efficiency/Balfour Beatty, M & C/Schneider Electric partnerships to name but a few.

In my view customers will expect energy services providers to cover all the bases, not doing the bill checking and procurement management in isolation.

Certainly as companies grow and energy issues become ever more complex and diverse, as well as in many cases affecting the financial position of companies large and small, there is a need for something close to a “one stop shop” which can form an understanding of customer needs and then deliver, having access to the best resources available.

There are massive advantages to this way of doing business – for the customer there will be a need for less direct input (though a sensible approach would be to retain in-house an “intelligent client” capability – probably a very well-trained energy professional with an understanding of both the commercial and technical angles) and ultimately lead to a “lean, mean and green” approach; for the energy services provider there’s then the opportunity to develop long-term relationships built on trust and an emphasis much more on partnering.

This in turn surely provides the clear opportunity to engineer higher margin work where everyone gains, both the customer, from having an efficient and effective provider making greater savings for them, and the provider from the wide array of services and innovation which they can potentially introduce. How much better would it be to see long and productive relationships rather than crash, bang, wallop panic inspired Energy Performance Contracts?

Who knows, this may even lead to a greater degree of vertical integration from the energy supplier community.

Pressure for changes in the way the industry operates I would see as coming increasingly from customers themselves. It’s not just the big corporates who have aspirations to radically reduce their energy demand, with all the regulation, the massive profile that energy issues now have, mandatory reporting, peer pressure around competitive advantage in all sorts of fields, has meant a redefinition for many organisations of their aspirations in this space.

These need to be translated into a commercial capability on the part of the supplier community to deliver the right solutions quickly and cost effectively.

This will mean that everyone develops a more holistic view on how all the component parts of the energy puzzle fit together.

Let’s all hope this happens quickly but let’s be clear – there’s an awful lot of changing of mindsets to do in the meantime. We need some great exemplar models to provide evidence that “holistic” works better than “fragmented” – maybe these will be the TELCA award winners of the future……..

Mervyn Bowden is the Managing Director of Intuitive Energy Solutions and Chair of the TELCA Judges

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