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Can Asia Pacific leapfrog other world energy markets?

With an energy market as diverse as the populations it serves, the Asia Pacific region poses many opportunities for industry players.

The fastest growing, most diverse and densely populated region in the world, Asia Pacific (APAC) also has one of the most varied energy profiles. Serving a mix of regulated and deregulation markets at different stages of technological and economic development, utilities face many challenges. Not only is the macro-level power market unusually diverse, it’s also undergoing a number of major, precedent-shattering disruptions.

How diversity builds opportunity

This turbulent mix of power markets and players has the potential to “leapfrog” the incremental progress seen elsewhere. In the process, the region’s energy industry has the opportunity to reinvent the customer experience. Three areas in particular show promise:

Co-opting the digital revolution. In many parts of the region, mobile adoption has negated the need for fixed-line infrastructure investments. Utilities could co-opt this digital revolution for their own benefit, driving shifts in customer interactions via online innovations in areas such as billing and payments. Across APAC, Accenture’s New Energy Consumer research shows that more than half of consumers would prefer to interact with their utilities via Web-enabled channels. In markets like Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan, that number rises to between 60 to 70 percent for some interactions. What’s more, consumers who use digital channels to interact with their energy providers are nearly 20 percent more satisfied with their service. Energy providers in APAC could thus leapfrog their global peers while creating a truly digital customer experience.1

Tapping into distributed energy. APAC could become a leader in the distributed energy revolution. Australia already has significant solar adoption levels, and consumers around the region show significant interest in doing more in this area. In South Korea, China, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, from 60 to 80 percent of consumers would consider purchasing solar technology in the next five years. Accenture research shows that across the region, two-thirds of consumers would turn to their energy providers first for solar solutions. In markets like Australia and South Korea, the number is closer to 80 percent. What’s more, solar has a demonstrated advantage in electrifying rural areas, enabling providers to improve access and reliability while creating a more satisfying customer experience.

Learning from emerging markets. APAC emerging markets could become proving grounds for mature market innovations. For example, successful emerging market offerings such as discounted solar products and services bundled with telecommunications could make sense for cost-sensitive rural customer segments in mature markets. In APAC, more than three-quarters of consumers are interested in such bundles from their energy providers—about 10 percent above the global average. Accenture’s research also shows that APAC consumers want energy providers to expand their business models. Compared to their peers elsewhere, APAC consumers express a higher interest in buying additional products and services along with energy from their utilities. More than 40 percent of consumers in China, Philippines and Singapore would prefer this option.

1. All research in this article is from Accenture’s New Energy Consumer research program, which in addition to other intensive research, surveyed more than 50,000 consumers in 26 countries over five years.