Rabobank and NET2GRID were featured in the ‘’Talking New Energy’’ podcast series organised by LCP Delta featuring new energy experts. The podcast talks about the leading edge of the energy transition in Europe and beyond and was hosted by Jon Slowe.
The episode focuses on how an organisation outside the traditional energy world, specifically Rabobank in the Netherlands, is offering energy insights to its customers to help them drive a more sustainable lifestyle and deal with high energy costs.
Although not typical for a bank, Rabobank is highly interested in energy-related offerings. They are already providing energy advisory services when people are coming for their mortgages. They are also providing 3D home scanning services where homeowners receive free, practical, and personalised advice on how they can make their home sustainable. ‘’Banks are considered more neutral than energy suppliers when it comes to energy efficiency,’’ says Petra Eussen, Product and Innovation Manager at Rabobank. Rabobank's new product is set to help customers with their energy consumption, aiming at setting behavioral sustainability goals.
The role of NET2GRID as an energy insights provider
‘’NET2GRID provides a data pipeline for us to the smart meters that are in the homes of the customers in the Netherlands. This is how the data are retrieved and presented to the customer in our banking app.’’ says Eussen. While the rollout of smart meters in the Netherlands has brought forward similar monitoring services allowing for energy data checks, NET2GRID gives the data in a disaggregated way. ‘’We are not only presenting the insights, but we show it in a disaggregated way, so we can also show the customers what it was spent on. That is really cool!’’.
But it’s more than that. The service gives accurate information on how customers' behaviour is related to their high consumption because they can also make comparisons. ‘’The customers are valuing the service a lot because they get an insight not only into what they used today but also into what they used in the past. They are thinking, ‘’This is the cooker in my kitchen, is it really so much energy that is used?’ But it's not just using so much energy today, it was the cooker that was on, or it was the second refrigerator which was on.’’ Eussen argues.
Results so far
Rabobank already has experience in giving end-users insights into their behaviour. But energy insights are gaining ground every day. ‘’We had experience with a similar feature in the app showing insights on household spending. But I must say that this insight now on energy is higher used than that,’’ she says.
To measure the engagement of their customers returning visits are logged. ‘’What we see is that a quarter of users visit at least once a week, that's a lot. And almost all visits once a month come back. We notice a lot of customer usage. People were even coming back to provide help on improvement. That’s really nice,’’ Eussen continued.
The energy insights feature is not only a way for Rabobank to green its mortgage portfolio but also speaks to a timely response to the market needs. Eussen concluded, ‘’We also noticed on customer’s feedback mentioning that the feature is so spot-on, timing-wise. Absolutely spot-on.’’
A temporary trend or a permanent shift?
What does the future hold for a bank or other organisations involved in energy services? Is it just a trend of the moment or a permanent shift here to stay?
David Trevithick, LCP Delta expert, says that there is a huge increase in demand for apps or portals that help customers understand, monitor, and manage their energy. ‘’It’s a real pivotal year. But I see no reason why that couldn't sort of continue developing over time. Once you've got these customer consents, that's obviously a critical moment in a customer journey. It's a question of then creating the drivers to attain that engagement and a lot of things to do to move consumers along their own personal energy transitions.’’
‘’We see from our customers that they also use that same type of data to give the information to their call center agents and help customers when they have any inquiries about their bill or use it to provide an offer or personalised services to their customers for solar panels or heat pumps.’’ Berend Olde Rikkert, NET2GRID’s CCO argues.
When it comes to Rabobank in particular, Petra Eussen believes innovation is the differentiating factor and such services are here to stay. ‘’The energy market is a complex new market for a bank, so it is innovative for a bank to start in such a new domain. But it’s exciting to have such an innovative feature in the banking app in our core.’’
Access the whole episode and script here.