If you’re unfamiliar with the term Competitive Monopoly, let me start by giving you some examples. The technology industry has the most recognisable competitive monopolies – such as Facebook, who continues to dominate despite the loads of social networking sites. Similarly, retail giant Amazon dominates its rivals across verticals and geographies and is often heralded as the world’s largest online store. Meanwhile, Google competes with well-known search engines, yet it continues to enjoy massive market share. All of these companies are competitive monopolies. They operate in a competitive market, and yet they have some secret that makes everyone want to use their services and gives them monopolistic characteristics.
It is this goal of becoming a competitive monopoly that I believe utilities need to aspire to. Regardless of other offerings available in the market, if you have a competitive monopoly, energy consumers will choose you because you are delivering what they want. Today, most consumers are looking for ways to move away from a relationship with their utility. They are not looking to build stronger relationships with utility companies. But there is a way to change that, with a secret you already possess.
The secret that your utility has, which no-one else has, is access to your energy data. This data is your secret. This data can allow you to position yourself as a critical part of the energy transformation and, I argue, as an essential element of a country’s ambitions to introduce smart cities. I am not suggesting you hoard the data to leverage this secret yourself. Quite the opposite, in fact. I am encouraging you to think of your company as an Airbnb or an Uber, both of which bring together consumers and providers. You can become a two-way energy marketplace, where you facilitate the movement of electrons and data. Where you bring together energy consumers and service providers, all leveraging the energy data that you possess. As I described in my previous blog, there are hundreds of potential businesses who would love to get access to energy data to improve the products and services they are delivering.
So, why wait? Start this journey now, and you can differentiate yourself from all other players entering the market. You can offer something no-one else can. Even if, in years to come, others can provide this same service, it will be too late. You will have established a partner and consumer network that cements your leadership position.
Are you the next competitive monopoly?
Look out for my latest book ‘The Digital Utility’, to be published early 2018, and don’t forget to complete the Digital Utility Scorecard. A free, anonymous, online diagnostic that takes about ten minutes to complete. The objective of this diagnostic is to help you start a conversation with your colleagues about what being a Digital Utility means to your organisation.