‘Counterintuitive’ union sees electricity retailer subsidise fast-growing Aussie energy management platform

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Surprising as it may be, Blue NRG’s General Manager Duncan Jacklin says the partnership, which will essentially see Blue NRG offer its customers a rebate on carbontrack’s technology, is the “natural next step” in a rapidly shifting landscape.

“A solution like ours… potentially reduces the amount of revenue initially that the retailer receives, but in the long run, they keep that stickiness and they don’t have customers churning away to other retailers,” carbontrack’s Chief Operating Officer Brendon Spear told pv magazine Australia.

“It’s a much more symbiotic, longer term relationship,” Managing Director Spiros Livadaras added.

Melbourne’s carbontrack, which launched in Australia in 2015 and has been on a speedy global ascent, has both a hardware and software component which ultimately allows users to monitor and control their electricity consumption. What’s different about the solution is its autopilot feature, which is essentially an algorithm which automates energy use to get the most cost-effective outcome by assessing appliance use and deeming them essential and non-essential – a choice which can be overridden by customers via a dashboard.

“You’re effectively digitising the distribution panel of the customer and allowing them to decide what’s important to them,” Spear said.

The solution isn’t limited to only smart appliances either, with smart plugs literally sitting between the power point and older appliance to allow them to be controlled. “When we set off on this exercise, we wanted to create an ecosystem or environment where people can retrofit their homes or offices or business” Livadaras explained. Able to be integrated with any Modbus enabled third-party hardware, carbontrack also offers demand-side management, peak shaving, storage integration, and VPP capabilities.

With its promise of its users anywhere between 30% and 60% on power bills, the Victorian company has gone definitively global since its launch five years ago. Just a year after it started out in Australia, the company moved into New Zealand and South African markets. Not long after that, it won the UK’s Tech Rocketship Award. “We were greeted at number 10 Downing Street, had tea with [Theresa] May and the got invited to the House of Lords – so that was pretty cool,” Livadaras said of the whirlwind rise.

Already undergoing trials in the US, carbontrack will officially launch there next week – on March 1. When asked what’s next on the horizon for the Aussie company, Livadaras laughs. “World domination,” he says, without skipping a beat.

Back on home turf, the company’s partnership with Blue NRG – announced earlier this month, will see the business-focussed retailer offer its customers 23% off the price of carbontrack’s energy management system. Blue NRG said its decision to partner is “absolutely” part of what it sees as a changing role of energy retailers as the world moves to a low emissions future – one where it is actively helping its customers to manage energy use and consume more efficiently.

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