Energy giants ‘must adapt to tech boom’
BRITAIN’S largest energy companies could face an existential threat in the wake of a technology boom which threatens to upend the traditional utility business model, according to former energy chiefs.
An influential six-strong group of former FTSE 100 chief executives and policy makers has warned that traditional energy companies have already “chronically underestimated” the market’s pace of change and could lose out to a rising breed of tech-based rivals. In recent years the energy industry has seen a boom in the number of consumers harnessing renewable energy technology to generate their own power.
This trend is expected to accelerate in line with the emergence of internetconnected metering and appliances, as well as the Government’s backing for home batteries and electric vehicles. But the “digitisation” of energy could leave the door open to tech firms more prepared for the changing market.
In order to survive, Ian Marchant, the former boss of SSE, together with ex-national Grid boss Steve Holliday and Volker Beckers, who led RWE npower, has called for bold action from energy companies. Among the report’s contributotrs was Ed Davey Mp, a former energy secretary, as well as longtime energy minister Charles Hendry, and Joan Macnaughton, head of energy at the old Department of Trade and Industry.
Ed Davey, a former energy secretary, is among the experts who have urged traditional utility firms to adapt