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Omnisumers: The Future of Active Energy Consumption

Mike Lewis
14 Jun 2023

As the energy industry navigates the energy transition, we hope to create a world in which energy is available, affordable and clean by the 2030s.

At Capgemini we want to envision this world. The rich and diverse opportunities the energy transition will enable across every geography and within every community. The new value opportunities, the economic and societal prosperity, and the reimagining of the energy industry as a whole.

Revolutionizing energy consumption: How omnisumers are leading the way

By the 2030s, a new type of energy customer is sweeping across Western Europe: the active omnisumer. The omnisumer is defined as a person or business who participates in a dynamic energy ecosystem across various solutions, products and providers. Historically, the relationship between energy provider and consumer was passive, disengaged and one-way. Energy was a commodity, delivered to consumers from unknown, high-carbon sources with prices dictated by set tariffs. In the 2030s, the energy ecosystem is transformed. Growing concern around energy consumption and its impact, both financial and environmental, led to consumers demanding control. Energy providers had to fundamentally reshape their relationship with customers.

The top-down power dynamic has been replaced by a more equal, choice-based relationship. Energy providers must be responsive to a paradigm where the majority of consumers are omnisumers: aware of their personal energy footprint and taking active action to manage it within a dynamic, diverse ecosystem. In the 2030’s blockchain-enabled, highly fragmented marketplace it’s not enough to simply sell new units of energy. Energy is no longer a commodity but a service. A highly personalized service that deeply understands its customers, engages with their lifestyle and needs, and enables them to easily exchange value and make informed decisions. To achieve this, energy companies have built complex partnership ecosystems with technology companies, automotive manufacturers and power generators – all geared to empower the omnisumer. Simplicity and control are at the heart of the omnisumer’s behavior and underpin the three key themes which have enabled the omnisumer’s rise: more choice, digitization, and self-generation.

My energy, my way

Being an omnisumer is not simply about choosing to use less energy, it’s about choosing which energy you want to use. As self-generation technologies and micro-grids have become more available – increasingly democratized due to government schemes and financing options – people can choose between the national grid or their own home to avoid spikes and congestion. As energy has moved from commodity to service, the market has become segmented by price preference. Some consumers still view energy as a commodity, wanting the cheapest available regardless of its source, but desire the extra flexibility to help them save money. Others want maximum comfort with minimum trouble – they are motivated less by the environmental impact, more by the advancements in digital apps and tech and are willing to pay  a premium for a high-end service. Enabled by blockchain technology, energy becomes highly traceable. Consumers track the energy they use from its source, empowering them to care more deeply about its origin. Local energy producers build meaningful relationships with their customers, sharing news, photos and updates, to keep them engaged and loyal; increasingly more people have shares in local energy production, making them both customer and investor. By embracing the shift to localized, distributed energy, utilities companies embed themselves in communities’ and individuals’ wider daily lives. Every omnisumer has a different relationship with energy built on a unique, diverse ecosystem of providers and products. But the crux of being an omnisumer is universal: making active choices to ensure they get the energy they want, the way they want it.

A digitized, tailored industry

Digitization has transformed the world of energy. It’s enabled the energy industry to become more connected and intelligent. Smart meters offer omnisumers access to rich data and actionable insights about their energy habits. Managed through easily navigable AI-powered mobile apps, consumers monitor connected appliances in real-time. From energy insights such as peer-to-peer and carbon footprint recommendations, to appliance health checks and safety alerts. Energy providers leverage this influx of data to deliver highly tailored products and services at an industrial scale. From learning the customer’s patterns of behaviors, energy companies optimize their offering to each individual. Leading energy providers act as the single broker for their customers’ entire energy ecosystem, from providing e-mobility services to leasing domestic renewable energy technologies. Partnerships with other service providers, such as EV charging stations, build a holistic interconnected offering that serves every need.

Digitization also helps the omnisumers of the 2030s optimize their energy costs by making it easy to get closer to nature. AI software tracks the ebbs and flows of renewable energy output and advises the consumer via their mobile app when to use high-energy appliances, such as charging their EV or using the washing machine at night when energy costs are lower. Time-of-use, dynamic tariffs also notify consumers of negative price plunges, enabling them to be paid to use electricity when demand is low, or the grid is oversupplied by renewable power. If they have personal batteries, it automatically optimizes the charging and usage of this battery power based not only on the output variation but on the consumer’s lifestyle. The software can intimately learn the consumer’s habits and routines and adapt their energy consumption accordingly, for example if they regularly need to drive at nighttime and therefore can’t charge overnight. Thanks to digitization and intuitive UX, omnisumers don’t need to have in-depth knowledge of energy in order to have an active relationship with it. Digital technologies level the playing field for everyone and makes it easy to consume energy in a more considered, efficient and ultimately cheaper way. Energy service providers have the opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition by optimizing an individual’s energy needs and providing them with the best algorithms and offers aligned with their consumption habits.

Powering independence with self-consumption

For many, being an omnisumer revolves around reduced costs. They want insight and control over what they’re spending and how. But as technologies such as battery storage and electric vehicles become more ubiquitous and therefore more affordable, and as the energy conversation continues to permeate the mainstream, more and more consumers are investing in self-generation. 100 million households around the world rely on solar PV. 65% of Western Europe’s car sales in 2030 are battery electric vehicles. The shift to renewable energy has heightened its localism. Local government plays a key role in renewable generation as planning authorities, as well as promoting self-generation technologies via subsidies. Omnisumers may choose to grid-share and be part of a local community collective of domestic solar installations and batteries. By the 2030s, there will be energy services built into new multiple occupancy developments, as well as community-based energy storage solutions such as batteries that serve an entire village. Alternatively, omnisumers may keep a private closed circuit of energy, any surplus of which their energy provider helps them sell back to the grid at the best rates. Some consumers are becoming ever more independent prosumers; they’ve transitioned from simply being a buyer to becoming an interwoven player in the energy ecosystem. The opportunity for energy providers lies in enabling this transition for all by successfully simplifying the complexity and making consumers feel rewarded and engaged in their energy interactions.

Lighting the way for the omnisumer

The rise of the omnisumer sparks deeper, active customer relationships that facilitate grid management and open up new commercial models and social valorization. These models create greater value connections and avoid commoditization – a total transformation of the role of energy companies in the eyes of the customer. With increased control comes trust, loyalty and empowerment. The omnisumer is motivated not only by cost, but by a sense of purpose. Their relationship with energy is governed by simple yet sophisticated end-to-end solution s that work to help them save money, time and the planet simultaneously. They can easily choose and control the energy they want, the way they want it – all enabled by the new energy ecosystem and its innovative technologies.