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The power package – could energy join broadband and TV as the next subscription add-on?

12th March 2018

New research reveals strong consumer appetite for lifestyle service companies

There is a strong appetite among consumers to buy their gas and electricity from ‘lifestyle services companies’, new research reveals today.

Experts predict that the increasing digitisation of the energy sector, such as the current rollout of smart meters to every home across Great Britain, will soon make it possible for supermarkets, online retailers, film subscription services, broadband providers and even banks, to provide energy as part of wider package of lifestyle services.

In a move away from traditional suppliers, many people said they would be interested in buying energy from companies such as broadband providers like BT, supermarkets such as Tesco and TV subscription services like Sky. Almost one fifth of people (18%) said they would be interested in buying it from a music streaming service such as Spotify.

The research, Consumer attitudes to Lifestyle Service Companies, by Smart Energy GB, also found that:

  • People with a smart meter were more likely to find the idea of buying energy as part of a ‘lifestyle’ package appealing (58 per cent as opposed to 50 per cent)
  • Half of those surveyed (50 per cent) found the idea of buying energy as part of a lifestyle package appealing
  • The concept is even more appealing to 18 – 34s, with almost two thirds (63 per cent) saying they found it appealing
  • Around half of those surveyed would be interested in buying energy as part of a package from broadband providers (49 per cent) or supermarkets (48 per cent), with other potential suppliers also being of interest
  • Additional benefits for buying energy as part of a package to make it more appealing are when there is a financial advantage such as cost savings (81 per cent) or benefits such as discount vouchers (74 per cent)  

Dr Jeff Hardy, Senior Research Fellow, Grantham Institute - Imperial College London, said:

“It is wonderful to see that people share my excitement about new ways to deliver energy services in the future. Lifestyle service companies could transform tomorrow’s energy markets, competing to deliver what their customers need. Whether these are today’s energy companies or new entrants from other sectors will largely depend on who understands their customers best.

“Clearly there is an opportunity for consumer-focused energy companies to mobilise data and digitalisation to deliver services that are in tune with the way customers live their lives, although there are regulatory, market design and consumer protection issues that will need to be addressed along the way.”

Sacha Deshmukh, Chief Executive of Smart Energy GB said:

“This research provides a hugely exciting glimpse, for businesses and consumers, into what a future with a fully digitised energy infrastructure will look like. Not only will our home services become more streamlined, but a world of possibilities will open up when it comes to buying gas and electricity.

“That future isn’t as far away as you might think – the option to buy energy in a different way, from a different type of company, is a key benefit of smart meters. Not only that, but the enthusiasm of smart meter users for lifestyle service packages is further evidence that the smart meter rollout is an essential step on the path to a smarter world.”

Smart meters are coming to every home in Britain at no additional cost - they send energy data automatically to suppliers and allow consumers to see how much energy they are using in pounds and pence. In the future, consumers will be able to share this data with innovators offering them new lifestyle services.


Notes to editors

Smart Energy GB conducted research into consumer attitudes to Lifestyle Services Companies in November 2017. 1,500 adults aged 18+ were surveyed, fieldwork was conducted by Lightspeed Research.

About Smart Energy GB:

Smart Energy GB is the voice of the smart meter rollout. It’s our task to help everyone in Great Britain understand smart meters, the national rollout and how to use their new meters to get their gas and electricity under control. Our national campaign is reaching households and microbusinesses in England, Scotland and Wales. For more information visit our websitesmartenergyGB.org

About smart meters and the rollout

Smart meters replace the traditional meters we currently have in our homes. They enable accurate bills, near real time information on energy use in pounds and pence, and greater control over the way we buy and use energy. The smart meter rollout is an essential technology upgrade, unprecedented in its scale, to improve Great Britain’s energy infrastructure.

There are already 8.6 million smart meters installed in homes and microbusinesses across Great Britain. Every household in England, Scotland and Wales will be offered one at no additional cost. Contact your energy supplier today about installing your smart meter.

About Dr Jeff Hardy, Senior Research Fellow, Grantham Institute - Imperial College London

Dr Hardy is the author of “How could we buy energy in the smart future?” and a Senior Research Fellow at the Grantham Institute - Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London, where he researches what the future low carbon energy system might look like, how people will engage with it and what businesses will be operating in it.

Previously he was Head of Sustainable Energy Futures at the GB energy regulator, Ofgem, and Head of Science for Work Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He’s also worked at the UK Energy Research Centre, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Green Chemistry Group at the University of York and at Sellafield as research chemist in a nuclear laboratory.

Smart Energy GB media contacts

For more information including interview requests, case studies of smart meter users, infographics, photography and video content please contact the Smart Energy GB media team:

Helen Croney:[email protected]; 0131 322 6204 / 07921 458 041