Guest blog: How digitalisation can help businesses with energy consumption

Business, Energy | Mon 5 Oct | Author – Business & Finance
Pictured: Dermot McArdle, Head of Business Markets, Electric Ireland

Dermot McArdle, Head of Business Markets, Electric Ireland, discusses how digitalisation can help businesses with their energy consumption during these uncertain times.

At Electric Ireland we want to be more than just an energy supplier to our customers. We aim to be their energy partner, to help them be more sustainable, more energy efficient and ultimately reduce their energy bills. The first step in optimising energy usage is to understand how it is consumed. Energy can be the hidden cost for some businesses as electricity is a product that is never seen or felt, and it only becomes visible when a bill arrives. Luckily technology can provide many opportunities to improve understanding of a business’s energy consumption patterns and offer insights as to how these can be improved. 

The first step in optimising energy usage is to understand how it is consumed.

For some customers ‘smart’ meters can provide very granular detail and for others the data is available at a higher more macro level. Electric Ireland’s online digital tools provide access to this data to all our business customers through our Business Online platform. Going online and using these facilities enables customers to get involved in how their energy is consumed and can have a transformative effect on how a business is run. 

Fast forward just a couple of years from now and every consumer of energy will have information at their fingertips on how they use energy, courtesy of the national rollout of ‘smart’ meters.

If we look back 20, 30 years, the only interaction people had with their utility company was reading the meter and paying the bill. Now, we can do so much more online – view bills, download and analyse energy consumption, access energy saving tips, see how energy consumption compares to our competitors. The overall benefit is that businesses have the facilities to become so much more conscious of their energy usage and can move to alter behaviours to reduce their impacts on the environment and lower their bills. 

Fast forward just a couple of years from now and every consumer of energy will have information at their fingertips on how they use energy, courtesy of the national rollout of ‘smart’ meters. Technology has brought about these positive enablers and as a result, the industry model has changed hugely for us. 

Early on at Electric Ireland, we looked at how we could do our business differently, so we chose a very innovative direction. We recognised that the industry was changing and so we reacted to embrace digitalisation and made a big investment in the online environment.  That has been truly transformative in terms of how we approach our business. The result of this innovation can be seen in the products that we offer to businesses today which are innovative and unique, enabling them to take control over their energy consumption. 

The energy industry as a whole is moving to a position where the consumer has a role in how they consume and manage their energy. 

But do cost savings trump sustainability when it comes to energy use for businesses? Well businesses first and foremost want a reliable and sustainable electricity supply and to know that there is flexibility in how they use it, including being guaranteed renewable energy for their operations.  Whether working with large users of energy or small businesses, at Electric Ireland we try to work more as an energy partner rather than an energy supplier. The energy industry as a whole is moving to a position where the consumer has a role in how they consume and manage their energy. Take for example, when we work with data centre operators, we try to engage as early as possible  at design stage for new operations, so that we can advise them on the opportunities in the market for them commercially, how they can manage their energy supply through technology and where there are commercial returns from their on-site energy operations.  

For smaller and medium sized customers, there doesn’t need to be a significant outlay in terms of adopting new technology to improve energy efficiency.

For smaller and medium sized customers, there doesn’t need to be a significant outlay in terms of adopting new technology to improve energy efficiency. We work with businesses by assessing their energy needs and providing them with products which can help them to manage their energy supply and make sure that they have optimised their own energy use. 

Whether it is a sole trader or a large pharmaceutical, any business can take steps to better manage its energy use to reduce costs and play its part for a more sustainable future. 

Learn more at electricireland.ie/business 

Dermot McArdle, Head of Business Markets, Electric Ireland. Dermot has over 30 years’ experience within the Irish energy markets and is responsible for business markets energy solutions within ESB Group’s supply business, Electric Ireland.  In his time with the ESB Group he has held senior management positions across the finance, commercial, generation, supply and trading businesses. Since December 2018, Dermot has been shaping the business vision of ESBs Brighter Future initiative, to manage the development of ESBs business markets into 2030 and beyond. Electric Ireland is one of Ireland’s leading retail brands and the largest energy partner of Irish business.
Website: electricireland.ie/business  LinkedIn: @ElectricIreland