EDF Energy focuses on innovation to grab customers

EDF Energy is setting up a 15-strong innovation unit to develop new products and services, a move that comes as rivals step up their efforts to introduce new tariffs aimed at mitigating the impact of price increases on their customers.

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It is likely that the team will look at new services and promotions that encourage energy efficiency. Digital services that allow customers to control energy use could also fall under their remit.

A spokesman for EDF declined to comment on the new unit but did say that it is “committed to developing innovative new products in order to meet the changing requirements of our customers”, adding that it is “constantly ensuring that we have the resources in place to fulfil this commitment.”

EDF’s move follows a similar one by British Gas, which launched a division to explore new revenue streams and the development of “smart energy” technology in January.

News of its commitment to product development comes as EDF looks to exploit being the only remaining major energy suppliers not yet to have increased its prices.

It launched “Fixed Price 2012” earlier this week, an offer to dual-fuel customers of the five energy companies to fix the annual cost of gas and electricity bills lower than the national average charged by the other major suppliers.

It has not, however, ruled out increasing prices in the future, adding that they are “constantly under review”.

Npower announced Tuesday (16 August) that its customer’s bills would rise by an average of 15.7% for gas and 7.2% for electricity from October. It blamed wholesale prices for the increase.

It has since launched a price fix promotional offer, claiming that customers can “fix energy prices for two winters” if they switch to a new tariff. British Gas launched its own offer after it announced 18% and 16% rises for gas and electricity customers in June.

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