E.ON UK chief executive Tony Cocker reveals how the energy giant is changing to stay ahead in a transforming market
As the way we generate our electricity and heat our homes changes in response to an ever changing world, so must the way that our energy suppliers work.
At E.ON, we've always taken pride at our efforts to create a better tomorrow for our customers, colleagues and communities by making energy simpler, more efficient and sustainable for all.
That means working in collaboration with our customers, colleagues and partners, identifying and delivering the innovations and solutions that will simplify and transform their lives, businesses and communities. We work hard to provide them with products and services built around their needs that offer them simplicity, convenience and control, helping them save energy and money.
But just as our products and services must evolve to satisfy those needs, so must the way we operate as a company.
2016 was a landmark year for the company. We moved away from the integrated business model of many of our large competitors and separated our coal and gas power stations into an entirely new company, independent of E.ON. We are the first major European energy company to take this path and will look different from them in the future, because we are different.
This is a huge change, and we are proud to be at the forefront of the UK energy sector in doing this. It will provide E.ON with a new focus and mean that provide us with the freedom to find new solutions for our customers without having to consider the impacts on other parts of our business. We will be able to spend more time listening and working with and for our customers. And by doing so we will be able to put our customers first and help build our view of the future.
E.ON will be at the heart of the new energy world - and will be more decentralised, more interconnected and lower in carbon. However as a European-wide business, we will take the lessons we have learnt from our businesses across Continent and deliver them to new markets locally spreading knowledge and experience as far and wider as possible. We will work in collaboration with our customers to identify and deliver the innovations and solutions that will simplify or transform their lives, businesses and communities.
From our city-wide partnership to help deliver a zero emission Berlin by 2050 to our flexible CHP solutions for businesses in Britain, and from our deployment of cutting edge smart-home systems in Malmö to our powerful personalised consumer-friendly energy efficiency data in the UK, there are live examples of where are already sharing experiences with our customers and working together to create a better tomorrow.
The new focus that the changes to our business will bring to serving our customers will allow us to listen and work with a range of different partners to spread bring this kind of innovation to new markets.
By listening to and working with residential customers we will put them in control of their energy use. Innovative technology deployed simply can and will change lives. We want to transform the relationship households have with us as their supplier by helping them to get value from the energy they produce from solar panels or stored in a home battery. We can help them both use and not have to use energy by bringing forward solutions such as smart thermostats or an app that gives near-real-time data to help them make informed energy efficient choices.
By listening to and working in partnership with businesses of all sizes we will find the solutions that our customers need to grow and prosper. For example, we can bring businesses into a virtual power plant network which maximises the value of their assets or provide expert and unique lighting solutions which deliver savings. Our teams can help them create value from the energy they use and don't use and give advice, support and solutions that make a real difference and are tailored to what businesses want or need, so they can improve their productivity and prosper in the competitive global economy we live in.
By listening to and working with local authorities to take a city-wide approach, we can deliver brighter, more energy efficient street lights, networks of electric vehicle charging points, heat networks that benefit residents and businesses and improve the comfort of homes through better insulation. Through these relationships we can help individuals and wider society at the same time.
As another year beckons, so does an exciting new chapter for E.ON. By working together with a range of different partners, the changes that we have made to our company will ensure that we are better placed than ever to deliver tomorrow's energy, today.
Tony Cocker is chief executive at E.ON UK