Innovations and tech can help shape the utilities sector for the future

For the latest edition of Yorkshire Vision, we were asked for our take on the role of technology and innovation have in business. At CNG, we understand how vital they can be for refining processes and benefitting everyone, so we couldn’t wait to share our thoughts.

Over time, technology has become an enabler for businesses, and nowhere more so than in the utilities sector. Green technologies in particular, are beginning to filter down to smaller businesses as they become more affordable, and the UK as a whole is gearing up for an energy revolution, seeing more energy generated at a local level.

The truth is, we need innovators to secure our industry for a better future. The UK government recently announced that the sale of petrol and diesel cars would be phased out by 2040, and for this to be successful, it will require a complete reappraisal of how electricity is generated and distributed in this country. So as advancing technologies such as battery storage come to the fore, we need to make sure we’re ready.

As an energy supplier, we’ve seen many changes to the way resources are acquired and transported over the last 25 years and we always love the challenge. With the current industry climate being no exception to this, we’re certainly gearing up for the next energy revolution.

Changes like this, however, do raise the question; is our sector doing enough in terms of innovation? The utilities industry at large is often seen as set in its ways, a trend we’re so proud to have bucked, but what is needed now is a step change in our sector. It is all very well responding to change, but we have the opportunity to lead it! All too often, actions are reactive, for example – reacting to the latest government policy, waiting until we’re told to do something by the regulator – but leading change can be exceptionally rewarding, whatever industry you’re in.

We’ve always had a mission to do things differently, and make a real impact on how energy works, and I’m pleased to report some real success in achieving that. We’re not doing things differently for the sake of it, rather because it’s the right thing to do.

Businesses mustn’t stand still, and change can happen from within. Don’t be fooled by your existing energy supplier that there isn’t a better way of doing things. With a little hard work and a bit of imagination, anything is possible!

In recent years we have seen many new entrants to the market. It’s no longer the ‘energy giants’ leading the industry, but a new breed of agile suppliers who are keen to rise to the challenges and ready to take on new ways of working.

We are so pleased that CNG has played its part in opening up competition in the market and been at the heart of leading change. In fact, we’ve even helped actively bring new suppliers to the market, and that’s something we’ll continue to do through our wholesale side of the business.

Businesses should never think they’re ‘too small’ to effect change, and should always try and find new ways of innovating in order to stay fit for purpose. Taking on sector leaders or industry giants may seem daunting, but in order to stay ahead of the game, we need to promote alternatives and ask more questions – both as business leaders and consumers.