July 20, 2015

The hub way - improved customer experience in the Nordic energy market

Carl Lidholm

Head of Strategy and New Business, Energy Utilities, Tieto

In the near future, data information will flow efficiently among actors in the Nordic energy market via data hubs within the Nordic countries. The new hubs link all market actors—distributors, retailers and consumers—and provide integrated access to all metering data. For consumers, this transformation will result in a greater customer experience.

In today's digital world, it is more important than ever for energy businesses to get closer to customers and deliver a superior customer experience. Consumers in the Nordics are already used to being able to change their supplier. Instead of just looking at the price tag, they are looking for energy companies that can give them excellent customer service and digital solutions.

Handling data from energy distributors, retailers and customers has so far required a variety of platforms, which has made it difficult to provide correct information and billing to end consumers.

Change is however in the air—the Nordic hub is a group of data hubs that are currently in production in the Nordic countries. The purpose is to build an efficient ICT Infrastructure encompassing all metering data generated among actors in the energy market and thus link together grid companies, suppliers and customers of permanent services in the countries.

A hub solution significantly improves the handling of data for the the customer—in a single interface, customers will be able to access their meter data and meter readings and even switch suppliers. But more importantly, a hub solution empowers customers. It will be much easier for each customer to choose a retailer that provides the best customer experience.

Improved efficiency and data quality for companies

The idea behind hub solution to harmonise and improve data quality by handling data more efficiently was originally conceived in Sweden in 2007. It originated from government regulation but started on a voluntary basis.

For energy distributors, the biggest benefit of a hub is cost efficiency via improved data quality throughout the whole process—this will raise the performance of all actors in the market in a significant way.

Moving functionalities from your system to the hub platform facilitates many services. For example, hubs make it easier to precisely calculate usage for each consumer, which yields fewer human errors. As a result, customers will consistently receive correct bills and up-to-date information on possible energy interruptions.

Specialised services for companies

The transition to data hubs in the Nordics is underway. It has already been proven that the implementation of service hubs will drive great benefits in the form of specialised services for both distribution and retail companies—if used correctly.

The key to benefiting from hubs is to not simply adopt the technology to meet regulations, but to change your business model such that it fulfils the needs of customers by providing smart, personalised and accessible customer data.

As I've written previously, the future of of the energy industry lies in digitalisation. Hubs, much like the Cloud, are just another way that technology is able to satisfy the needs of consumers and businesses in ways that were unimaginable just a decade ago. Like all industries in the 21st century, the energy sector will continue to innovate in order to offer personalised and easy to use services.

Read more about our Energy Utilities services.

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