By Dominique de Wit
Customers in choice jurisdictions are increasingly familiar with policy goals, such as Renewable Portfolio Standards, and others focused on carbon reduction. Retailer Energy Providers (REPs) are forced to deal with the implications of these policies – both from the perspective of opportunities for customer acquisition while also having to contend with the resulting changes to wholesale markets.
By investing in solutions powered by big data technology, REPs can leverage smart meter and wholesale market data to create offerings that are at the same time attractive to customers who are looking for greener and cleaner products and accountants who expect attractive margins. GridX, a leading provider of business operation support services to energy suppliers, offers big data Billing & Data Management software that does leverage such data.
The ever-increasing cost competitiveness of renewable energy is driving states to get closer to their clean energy goals. As these intermittent renewables resources further penetrate energy markets, REPs have the opportunity to sell products that appeal to customers that value “green” energy and also incentivize them to use and curtail energy at times that are valuable to the grid.
To acquire these customers and make them profitable, REPs need business operation support for the entire product lifecycle. That means tools that leverage smart meter data to design and optimize the products, a billing system that is flexible and agile to be able to rapidly implement new product offerings and support new product innovations, data analytics to inform wholesale purchase and settlement strategies that are aligned with the product design, and, finally, customer analytics to provide personalized and targeted marketing messages.
Most REPs have approached the management of retail and wholesale markets as distinct tasks. Going forward, to attract and retain customers as well as operate within the constraints of quickly evolving wholesale markets, REPs must take a more holistic approach to managing their business.
For example, several REPs in Texas already have experience mitigating mid-day peaks and low wholesale market prices. In some markets, shifting retail loads to the middle of the day will reduce the need to curtail wind and solar farms. Consequently, REPs increasingly need to provide real-time responses to wholesale market price signals and manage cost analytics and simulations to maximize their solution offerings.
Big data, cloud-based billing and data management solutions, which include wholesale contract management & settlement and margin analysis tools enable REPs to provide responses to wholesale market developments and support increasingly complex business models.
REPs are well-positioned to cost-effectively contribute to grid modernization and state-clean energy goals while at the same time attracting and retaining profitable customers. GridX is a leading provider of billing, settlement, data and analytics offerings to support REPs in this challenging quest.