Mark Hanafin, the CEO of Centrica’s Business division, says technology and the growth of renewables have dictated a radical change in the energy system, where the roles of energy supplier and consumer become more ambiguous.

Speaking to ELN at Energy Live Future Conference in Leicester, Hanafin said the days of turning on extra power stations to deal with spikes in demand were coming to an end.
Centrica staff
“It’s driven by other technologies that are becoming distributed, energy storage is coming into play, technologies around sensors and how we’re using energy, so all of that’s allowing the system now to balance, not just by turning on a new power station but by turning down demand and turning on distributed generation.”

He said this change from a consumer also becoming a producer or able to balance demand means the role of the supplier had to change: “We are an advisor and we are deeply into the technology – it’s a very different type of company from what you’d consider a utility.”

“We need to be able to design, advise, consult, install, run, maintain, finance, we need to do all of that and that’s what we’re doing.”

Mr Hanafin said many customers will initially find this process complex and Centrica itself will evolve into a position to help.