• 5 minute read
  • Jan 7, 2022

Energy and utilities providers’ lessons from 2021 and resolutions for 2022

After yet another tumultuous year, we find ourselves in 2022, hoping for a return to normal. But what even is “normal” in an ever-changing energy and utilities landscape? We look at some of the lessons for 2021 and resolutions for 2022.


Well, 2021 was quite a year. Although optimistically predicted to be a return to normal back in January, if anything it was even stranger than 2020.  

So rather than make the same mistake again, and confidently predict a routine 2022, we can instead look back at the lessons we learned in 2021, and apply them to resolutions and goals for this year.

The world’s population has spent the past two years becoming more “digital-first” than ever in every facet of their lives, from business to commerce to communications and beyond. At the same time, we’ve seen a rising demand for social responsibility, accountability and environmentally friendliness.

These trends have placed new demands on all business types, in particular energy and utilities, who in many cases have some serious catching up to do. If done right, this could be revolutionary for the sector. Just last year management consulting firm Kearney claimed that the sector is “on the verge of the biggest technological transformation since 1880”.

The emergence of technologies such as 5G, IoT, Machine Learning and robotics are not merely forcing utilities to keep up, but catch up too.

Last year, we explored how digitization - and effective use of digital technologies - is key for providers in deregulated and recently liberalized markets to succeed. But whether deregulated or not, there are myriad opportunities on the horizon. And where there are opportunities, there’s also the danger of not capitalizing on them.


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Utilities are behind the curve on self-service, and are being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century by those who most value online self-service: millennials. Consumers aged 18-34 years are the driving force of self-service retail adoption. 

While this is ironic since the energy industry pioneered self-service at automobile gas stations long before grocery stores enabled customers to wander the shopping aisles alone and fill their own trolleys, if you’re in any doubt, consider these statistics:

  • 63% of millennials begin their customer service interactions online
  • 74% of millennials report that their perception of a brand improves when it is clear the company responds to customers' social media inquiries
  • 66% of 18-34-year-olds say their customer service expectations have risen in the last year
  • Millennials will pay 21% more to do business with companies that excel at customer service 

Sources: Microsoft / AE, via Nextiva

Whether “self-service” refers to mobile apps, online portals, tariff choice, product add-ons, peripheral services, or energy-saving tech products such as smart thermostats, portable Bluetooth-connected lights and wi-fi-controlled mains plugs, the quality of service around the world varies.

We recently explored the current state of self-service in the energy and utility space and found regional strengths and weaknesses, which suppliers - wherever they serve - should aspire to turn into strengths.







Much more customer-friendly

UX more intuitive, quotes simplified for accessibility

Lots of extra services: big on efficiency, boiler installation, smart meter promotion

Big on extra services, technical gadgets

Huge array of tariff options depending on home tech setup


Very low choice of tariffs, no extras, no personalization

Very poor UX

Overly complex, technical

Not easy to personalize

Not huge difference between reg & dereg states, despite competition

Online service limited to filling out forms. Postal and phone options also feature strongly


Utilities self-service ebook


Innovate to meet customer expectations

Your customers prefer environmentally-friendly products, and have particular concerns about sustainable energy, so smart utilities providers are adopting a green energy approach, which includes openly communicating their green credentials. 

Consumers no longer make purchasing decisions based on quality and price alone, and this trend intensifies as we look to younger generations. According to a 2021 study by GreenPrint: 75% of Millennials are willing to pay more for environmentally sustainable products and services, compared to 63% of Gen Z, 64% of Gen X, and 57% of Boomers.

You need to walk the walk, and also talk the talk; tell your customers how you are providing them with sustainable and environmentally friendly products.

We went into more detail about the environmental and ethical expectations of customers during our webinar in June 2021 Measuring up to customer expectations in today’s decentralized, decarbonized and digital-first energy world, in partnership with Energy Global, which you can watch now for free.


Utilities webinar

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