The user is in control of his power consumption

Sylvie Jéhanno is Director of Private Customers at EDF and President of Soweea new EDF subsidiary that has just launched a beta-test of a connected station that will be marketed at the end of November at the crossroads of the digital and energy transitions that are shaking up the sector. One of the challenges for customers: managing their consumption.
Delphine Masson: You just launched Sowee a few days ago. This device was designed, among other things, to control his budget. A key issue today?
Sylvie Jéhanno: Sowee is a connected object and an application specially designed to control its energy consumption, but it is above all, more globally, a connected station that can remotely control everyday connected objects to optimise customer comfort. All in all, Sowee is the new partner for sustainable well-being in the home. For our customers, the word "well-being" evokes both comfort and energy savings. It is an important subject for them. In a 2015 IFOP survey, 91% of the French say they want to save energy. But they talk more about budget control and peace of mind, because they understand euros better than kWh.
DM : Beyond what your customers think, isn't there an environmental issue as well as legal obligations to make energy savings ? The law on energy transition talks about a reduction in final energy consumption of 50% in 2050 compared to 2012...
SJ : That's why we also talk about "sustainable" housing, including energy savings, reduction of CO2 emissions, the subject of climate change, photovoltaic technology on rooftops, electric vehicles to be recharged in front of the garage. In this more general context, Sowee is very comprehensive because it makes it possible to control individual gas-fired boilers very concretely with a budget view, to the nearest euro or degree. It is possible, for example, to set monthly budget targets and receive alert messages when they are exceeded, so that temperatures can be lowered if necessary.
Sowee is a pack including a connected Station and an Intelligent Thermostat. It allows you to control your heating according to your real consumption.

DM: A company that sells a product by saying not to consume too much of it. It may seem paradoxical...
SJ We are evolving in a world that is on the move, at the crossroads of the energy transition and the digital transition. We cannot remain a supplier over the long term without meeting the major expectations of our customers, and access to connected objects is one of them. Today, we are in a logic of consuming better and consuming less. It is in this context that we have launched the "e.quilibrium" digital dashboard accessible online. It provides a fairly detailed view of consumption and its evolution by use. It can compare them with those of the previous year or those of a similar household. Digital is a great opportunity to help our customers save energy. Sowee is therefore at the heart of these challenges and our customers' expectations, so that they can become players in their own consumption.
DM: The connected station alone costs 319 euros. It may seem like another paradox to spend money on one side to save money on the other side...
SJ : Our subsidiary Sowee plans to sell the connected station with a natural gas contract to allow for a spreading of its expense. It's more interesting and it facilitates access to the connected objects. We are in a logic of investment and return on investment. The station allows you to reduce your bill and thus make the purchase of Sowee profitable. It is also a way to improve its comfort with a view to the best value for money for our customers.
DM: Have you quantified the possible savings ?
SJ It's a first step. Connected thermostats are easier to install on individual boilers because it is a unique piece of equipment in the house. There are several electric radiators in every room. It is more complex. But this will obviously
DM: Sowee only concerns gas. What are the reasons for this ?
SJ It's a first step. Connected thermostats are easier to install on individual boilers because it is a unique piece of equipment in the house. There are several electric radiators in every room. It is more complex. But that will come, of course.
DM :The arrival of these digital tools and services raises the question of precarious audiences. We know that the least well-off households do not have smartphones and make little use of the Internet. What is planned for them?
SJ The digital divide does exist. EDF can then support these customers in a more traditional way with telephone advisors who are all trained in eco-gestures. We will also very soon be distributing a document for all our customers called "Ma Conso & Moi", which will accompany bills and provide highly personalised information on users' consumption patterns.
DM: Competition from Google or Orange is important in the connected home sector. And there are already offers to control energy consumption, such as the Nest thermostat. What is the most Sowee ?
SJ It is a very complete connected station that can also give information about the air quality in your home, the weather or traffic conditions. It will eventually be able to control most of the daily connected objects like a real conductor. With Sowee, which is the name of a product but also of a subsidiary, the EDF Group is making a shift and investing in the connected home sector.
DM: The French will soon all be equipped with smart meters named Linky and Gaspar, which are also presented as tools for controlling consumption. Aren't they enough to monitor consumption?
SJ Linky: Linky is a communicating meter installed by Enedis, an independent subsidiary of EDF, which, among other things, allows customers to be undisturbed when reading meters in their homes. It also enables accurate, non-estimated billing based on data automatically communicated to all suppliers. With Linky, suppliers can develop associated and complementary services that communicate about the dwelling. This is what Sowee is all about.
DM : These new communicating services are causing a lot of fears among consumers: they could spy on people's lives or emit electromagnetic waves that are harmful to health. Can you reassure them ?
SJ : The subject of data protection is essential for EDF. The company has set up a charter of use that can be consulted on our site. It is in line with regulations and is based on a few major principles. The data belongs to the customer who agrees to communicate them to us via a connected object because he finds a benefit in it, an appreciable service such as monitoring his consumption. This data remains with EDF in complete security and is in no way commercialised. Sowee is fully in line with this policy, which is essential in a customer relationship based on trust. With the station connected, we are essentially on wifi, with a little radio communication for the thermostat. This is a market standard. And of course all the technology used complies drastically with all European standards. So there's no need to be afraid to have...
DM: What other services will be offered by your connected station ?
SJ In the future, Sowee will provide solutions for electric heaters. For owners of electric vehicles, for example, Sowee will be able to indicate the state of charge of the battery. This should happen fairly quickly. A customer with solar panels on his roof will also be able to track his self-consumption. One of our subsidiaries, EDF ENR, has just released an innovative offer, "Mon Soleil & Moi", which corresponds well to current consumer expectations. Sowee could give them useful information on their consumption. Our connected station will go on sale at the end of November 2016, but it is a scalable offer that should be greatly expanded in 2017 to cover a million customers by 2026.
Interview by Delphine MassonUP' Magazine-The Great Question

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