Auto-switching company Labrador has announced backing from the Daily Mail and General Trust plc (DMGT) which is backing the company with a hybrid package of £500,000 in cash and media investment, in exchange for a subscription of ordinary shares.
Speaking to New Power in 2017 about the launch, Labrador chief executive Jane Lucy said consumers need to know that they own their smart meter data – and that it gives them power in the energy market.
Jane Lucy had previously worked on campaigns (eg ‘fish fight’) with TV personality Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. She says she was looking for a sector to use the lessons from campaigning to win change in supermarkets and other retail businesses and “Energy was an obvious place” because of the poor customer experience and the potential of the smart meter rollout. The result is auto-switching company Labrador.
For Lucy, the key point is that, “It’s the customers that own the smart meter data, not the energy suppliers or the DNOs. Customers are put into this fantastic situation where they own the asset – the data. It allows customers to be in control.”
It’s an opportunity that is being missed, she thinks, because, “Being a supplier-led programme, it’s not surprising that smart meters are seen as something owned and controlled by energy suppliers rather than being something that you own.
“Customers are unlikely to know that they own this [data] asset. The big six aren’t going to tell them. We have given them all this data, now we need to give them a way to access it.”