11 Apr 2023

Innovation in practice: dynamic offering to achieve a sustainable future

By Jonathan Briggs, Solution Marketing Manager, Gentrack

In my last blog I shared my thoughts on the shortfalls of simply decommissioning fossil fuels and replacing with large scale renewables in a bid to meet Net Zero ambitions. To put it bluntly, it’s a strategy doomed for failure.  

In my view, the transition to renewable electricity generation has to be accompanied by new consumer propositions around Distributed Energy Resource Management (DERM) models and products which incentivise a shift customer demand rapidly in response to triggers. Only by doing all of these things in harmony, will the energy world find ways to overcome renewable intermittency issues and bridge the gap between generation and demand.  

But what does that look like when put into practice? Below is an overview of some exciting business opportunities for energy retailers.

Time of Use (TOU) Tariffs  

TOU tariffs incentivise customers to use electricity at non-peak times. The reasons for this are 2-fold: 

  • To reduce the generation output required to meet demand at peak times 
  • To ensure power generated through renewable sources at non-peak times is not wasted 

Shifting consumer behaviour is critical to dealing with the intermittency of renewables and using data provided from smart meters, retailers can offer reduced prices at off-peak times in order to encourage customers to shift their high consuming loads, such as washing machines and dryers, or charging EV’s and batteries when it’s most cost effective to do so. 

Electric vehicle charging infrastructure  

Some energy retailers are offering to install electric vehicle charging points for customers, in a bid to reduce carbon emissions. When vehicles are parked and idle for 95%1 of the day, there are also innovative ways of maximising on in-car batteries, which have several times the storage capacity of a home battery. V2X (Vehicle to Everything) is bi-directional charging technology that allows energy to be passed to or from an electric vehicle (EV) battery. Electric car owners can discharge energy stored in their car’s battery to power electrical devices in their home or office buildings. Alternatively, they can be compensated to supply energy back to the national grid. 


Energy-as-a-service (EaaS) is an innovative business model whereby energy retailers move to subscription-based pricing and away from the traditional approach of charging for individual usage. Retailers set a recurring flat fee in exchange for energy. As part of this model, customers are given access to critical low carbon infrastructure, such as batteries and solar panels, with no upfront costs. 

Solar panels and home batteries 

Low carbon assets, such as solar panels and batteries for homes and businesses allow energy consumers to generate and store their own carbon-free power and save on their electricity bills, and even export power back to the grid. While the impact on overall global sustainability efforts may feel small, when many individual systems are grouped together, these can play a critical role in the race to Net Zero. Pooled together, these assets can form a Virtual Power Plant (VPP). With approval from the owner, the energy from these devices is tapped by utilities during times of high demand or reserved for later use. Participants are then compensated or offered competitive rates for their involvement.   

Gentrack technology is simplifying this process for leading Australian supplier, EnergyAustralia, enabling one of the most innovative propositions in energy. The retailer is providing customers with solar panels and batteries for zero upfront costs and setting a seven-year fixed rate over the term of the contract. Our CEO, Gary Miles, recent wrote a blog2 detailing how this product is going to have a hugely positive impact on how energy will be consumed in future and the design principles Gentrack followed to deploy this exciting offering.   

Supporting customers and the race to Net Zero 

Aside from the positive environmental impact, moving to these innovative business models is a powerful customer service tool as it enables a better customer experience. Every customer can be treated individually and offered a unique pricing and billing structure. But this same tailored customer engagement comes with its own set of challenges, namely the complexity of managing multiple highly individual accounts. This is where the power of a composable cloud architecture becomes critical, along with access to data driven insights to inform customer engagement. 

These revolutionary business models can’t be implemented overnight, but energy retailers cannot afford to ignore the transition journey they need to embark on. Once in place, the benefits are clear – innovative products to bring in new revenue streams, high levels of automation leading to reduced cost to serve, a much-needed boost to customer engagement and perhaps most importantly of all positive steps in the race to Net Zero. 

1 https://www.racfoundation.org/media-centre/cars-parked-23-hours-a-day 

2 http://gentrack.com/how-energyaustralia-is-about-to-change-the-way-the-world-consumes-energy/  

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