Siemens chief spotlights the new energy customer

“We are seeing a new customer emerging with new behaviour, from passive to proactive,” according to Ralf Christian, chief executive of Siemens’ Energy Management Division.

And he added that “we are heading for a consumer-centric energy world”.

Delivering one of the keynote speeches at the opening of European Utility Week in Barcelona, Christian said that according to Siemens’ data, some “57 per cent of consumers are considering becoming self-sufficient” in electricity while still being connected to the grid.

Speaking to journalists afterwards, he explained that the energy world was entering the age of the prosumer, where customers wanted to be able to generate as much of their own electricity as possible while still having the back-up of being grid connected.

“Electricity will be like insurance – it’s there if you need it if you want to be self-sufficient.”

He stressed that “decentralized energy is the way we are heading”, adding that it would be a “gradual process – country by country, DSO by DSO, city by city. Distribution system operators need to be match-makers – to be platform providers to the new transition.”

He said that Siemens had found that 66 per cent of DSOs “expect their role to evolve to distribution platform optimizer”.

On digitalization, he said that the use of big data in the energy sector “is like having a health check every 15 minutes instead of once a year, so that we know which vitamin to give to the grid”.

However, he warned: “Digitalization may happen so fast in some areas that governments cannot keep up with regulations.”

Christian was also asked what he thought about the election of Donald Trump as President-Elect of the US. “We have had zero indication of energy policy. All we have had is campaign talk and I cannot make a business decision on campaign talk, he said, adding that he would give Trump six months to “wait and see”.


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