Sara Bell, managing director of Tempus Energy and principal of the UK Demand Response Association, says she believes the UK energy market has never prioritized the customer, The Guardian reports. In order to meet shareholder expectations, energy suppliers are “duty bound” to sell at the highest price.
The business model for energy has to change, Bell told The Guardian, and she is doing her part to help facilitate that change. She founded Tempus Energy two years ago. It will become an energy supplier in November. Starting with business applications, the company will install an energy-management device that is connected to the customer’s energy-using equipment. The device is optimized to respond to market prices, so when energy is at its cheapest, the device will turn energy-using equipment on, helping the business to get the most cost-effective energy source possible.
The business model that relied solely on fossil fuels is changing, Bell says, and the big players in the energy market are scared of change. As a result, they are lobbying aggressively to maintain the status quo. Bell, however would like to see an energy market in which the major players focus instead on how they fit into the changing landscape, so she has formed an alliance for the digital energy economy. The alliance will bring companies together to begin making the case to government and policymakers about selling energy differently—the idea being that many voices are stronger than one.
A new bill that has gone through parliament has introduced a significant obstacle to Bell’s efforts. The bill will allow National Grid to offer energy generation companies 15-year contracts; however, it will offer only 12-month contracts to demand-response companies. The likelihood of a business buying into such a limited revenue stream is slim, she says.