The energy provider has partnered with utilities software firm Opower to create an online “energy saving toolkit”, which allows customers to compare their bill prices with one another. Homeowners will see their utilities bills compared with around 100 anonymous homes of a similar size and type, as well as the top 20 energy efficient E.ON homes in their local area.
It highlights hints and tips to help customers curb their energy usage issuing breakdowns of where and when energy is being used in the home via graphs on heating, lighting, hot water and appliances. It also compares costs for the current month to the previous, showing how bills have been affected by weather and usage.
An advertising campaign, including TV and online activity, is to launch next week (12 October) championing the service as an “innovative solution” to encourage “positive behavioural change”.
Anthony Ainsworth, sales and marketing director at E.ON, says: “We’ve been speaking to our customers and it’s clear from these conversations that there is wide-scale enthusiasm to have more insight and understanding about their household’s energy usage. We’re committed to helping our customers use no more energy than they need and our online Saving Energy Toolkit will help people achieve this.”
The shift stems from the energy provider’s 2011 pledge to “reset” relations with customers, which it has used over the past year to introduce a more insight-driven and digital-focused marketing strategy. Rivals including SSE, Npower and Scottish Power have adopted a similar approach over the same period, but E.ON’s latest effort marks the first time one of the country’s biggest energy providers has launched a comparison tool on this scale. Npower launched an online tool for customers to share energy saving tips and compare prices last year, while British Gas is crowdsourcing ideas from around 50,000 people on what they want from an energy company.
Industry analysts have previously told Marketing Week that the energy sector needed to do more to encourage homeowners to use comparison sites more to ward off ongoing transparency criticisms. Ofgem is clamping down on the perceived lack of clarity around bill transparency, however, with the regulator forcing suppliers to offer “vulnerable” customers – the elderly and those on low-income – and those who haven’t switched tariffs “for some time” a personalised estimate on the cheapest tariff available in the market and not just their own offers.