“Competition is a good thing,”
“We designed this forum to help the retail energy industry move forward,” said today John Landry, Vice President Competitive Markets for DNV GL, during his opening remarks at the 2019 DNV GL Energy Executive Forum in Scottsdale, Arizona. “Competition is a good thing,” Landry continued. “It incentivizes companies to do the right thing for customers, so even the threat of competition is good so it’s great to see the transition from a regulatory model to a competitive model.”
The industry seems to be losing ground
In spite of the increased competition and consumers having more choice, Landry indicated that the industry seems to be sliding backwards and that the market for residential retail energy peaked around 2014. “Since then, we’ve lost about 2.1 million customers back to the old utilities,” Landry laments. “And we are seeing a backlash from legislators who want to shut down competition. That’s what this conference is all about – how to reverse this trend.”
Landry stated that the commercial market, unlike residential seems to be holding steady. Margins are being squeezed, but from a broad perspective, that means competition is working.
Although most would have hoped that deregulation and more competitive markets would be spreading nationwide, that has not been the case and those opposed to competition have been working hard to stifle progress, Landry indicated. One such example he provided was the state of Nevada, where deregulation looked promising, but the legacy utilities were able to have it defeated. “As of now, there is no widespread movement pushing competition forward nationwide,” Landry acknowledged. “Current demand for competition seems to be at about 21% but could reach 28% by 2030 and 50% by 2050.” Landry also sees renewables having a 70% share of the market by the year 2050.
What the forum hopes to accomplish
According to Landry, this year’s forum was designed to help industry leaders network together. The panel discussions, in particular, were configured to be interconnected and allow for a free flow of ideas, hoping one set of ideas would feed off of another set of ideas.
“We want to move the idea of retail energy more toward the idea of ‘competitive’ energy,” said Landry. “When you get right down to it, it’s all about competition and the relationship we have with the customer.”
Landry concluded that the industry’s business model must be innovation and efficiency. In addition, companies must streamline how products and services get to market and that companies must work more closely with regulators. “At the end of the day, we have to think about not only how we expand markets but how we keep the markets we do have open.”
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