2016 - A year of transformation

The year 2016 will be remembered as one that marked a significant shift in the UK energy industry.

Over the past 12 months, we have seen a large number of new entrants to the market, increasing competition to unprecedented levels. The political landscape has changed and regulatory pressure has never been more intense, with the outcomes from the Competition and Markets Authority review into the industry having a significant impact on our business. Our customers now expect more of us than ever before in terms of the service and products we offer them.

We have worked tirelessly to meet these heightened expectations. We’re now a very different business than we were two years ago. The spin-off of our conventional generation operations into a separate business, Uniper, means we are a smaller, leaner business better equipped to tackle the challenges of the new energy world. We have restructured our residential operations business to create hubs of knowledge expertise and we have looked to cut costs and seek efficiencies to make every pound count for our customers.
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At the heart of this change is our dedication to our customers. They’re the reason for everything we do. More than ever they rely on us to provide them with solutions to the complex and fast-paced world of energy.

No longer is it enough for us simply to offer our customers electricity and gas products. Our vision is to be our customers’ partner of choice for energy solutions. What does that mean? I think it’s best summed up in three words: simplicity, convenience and choice.
 
Increasingly, it means using digital technologies that are now at the heart of modern life, to provide our customers with solutions that meet their expectations. The energy world is transforming and we are transforming with it.

Customer feedback 

I believe we’ve made tremendous progress, but it’s what our customers think that really counts. That’s why I was extremely proud when, for the fifth year running, our customers recognised us as the best of the large suppliers in the annual Uswitch Customer Satisfaction Report, a fantastic achievement, in view of the competitive nature of our market

Becoming our customer's partner of choice

So what other great things have we done for our customers during 2016. Let me highlight a few examples:

Live chat connects residential customers directly with an online colleague who can answer their query. It’s been a great success and we’re currently answering thousands of queries a week.

Our electric vehicle charging point initiative is helping large business customers get ahead of the curve in the anticipated global boom in electric vehicle ownership.

We launched E.ON Energy Installation Services into the market and so far have sold more than 1,000 new boilers in a relatively short period of time. We’re planning to refine the offer to include a finance package too.

We’ve accelerated the pace of our smart meter rollout. By the end of 2016 we had installed 750,000 meters in people’s homes and businesses.

We’ve developed virtual power plants, aggregating onsite generation from a number of sources to provide greater flexibility for our business customers.

We’ve created an innovative solar energy system supplying one of the country’s largest district heating systems with heat directly from the sun.

We’ve helped one of our business customers install 925 solar photovoltaic panels on their roof, which will generate around 250,000kWh hours of renewable electricity every year – enough to power 78 UK homes.

We’ve helped councils upgrade their street lighting to new energy efficient lighting, reducing energy usage by up to 86%.

We’re working to make E.ON a dementia friendly community by offering our UK employees a Dementia Friends Information Session, an initiative encouraging everyone to learn more about dementia and take action to help people affected by dementia.

These are a few of the exciting innovations we delivered for our customers last year. There are many more in the pipeline for 2017.

Looking ahead

Whether it’s a residential customer moving home or a landlord with multiple properties, we want to help make energy simple for our customers and we are innovating to achieve that aim. We’re exploring onsite generation and energy management to offer further efficiencies for our business customers. We’re making breakthroughs in energy storage, such as the 10MW battery we are installing at our Blackburn Meadows biomass plant that will help balance demand on the UK grid, and we’re harnessing technology to transform life in our towns and cities, giving customers control not just over energy, but things like home management, security and their cars too. This innovation also means we will be creating 500 new roles and upskilling colleagues to ensure we have the right skills for the new energy world.
 
These innovations give a clear indication of our direction of travel. We want our customers to recognise us as the experts in energy solutions, the company they can trust to treat them fairly and make life simple for them.  I am excited by what the future looks like for E.ON and our customers, and as I prepare to hand over the baton to Michael Lewis I can confidently say we are firmly on track to achieving our goals.