French firm to launch domestic energy business

French energy giant Engie is to launch a domestic energy tariff which it believes will be a “bullet” to big six rivals.

The company’s chief executive Isabelle Kocher made the promise in an interview with the Sunday Times this weekend. She also explained that the tariff would be competitive, despite threats of a government-imposed energy price cap, because it will be “embedded with the wholesale price”.

Engie, formerly GDF Suez, plans to link its new domestic energy offering with a broader strategy for city-scale energy services. This might include deals with companies and councils to reduce usage and emissions.

This plan has been in tow for a number of years and was officially acknowledged in early 2016. The most recent step towards launching the new city energy services portfolio was Engie’s acquisition of Doncaster-based Keepmoat – a specialist in urban regeneration services – for £330m in March this year.

The French firm’s strategy echoes that of Eon UK, whose chief executive Tony Cocker recently told Utility Week that it too sees opportunities for growth in smart city energy services, including solar PV with battery storage for social housing, heat networks and energy management.

“Once you start to think about the challenges a city has, there’s a set of solutions that we have that can be part of the mix,” he said.

In her interview with the Sunday Times, Kocher also said that she had not been put off investing in Britain by the Brexit vote, notwithstanding the firm’s decision to pull out of the Nugen consortium building a £15 billion new nuclear plant at Moorside in Cumbria.

Kocher insisted that she values the policy and regulatory environment the UK offers.

More detail about Engie’s domestic energy business plans will be revealed at an event at the Olympic park in London on 11 May.

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