PARIS Oct 13 France's state-controlled utility
EDF launched a new subsidiary on Thursday to grow its
share in the gas market and take the top spot in the French
sector for connected home objects.
The independent unit called Sowee will supply gas and other
services to consumers, including a smart connected device
installed in homes to help manage gas consumption and show real
time estimates of usage, projected costs and air quality.
"We see a world that is changing, that is digital and
connected, and clients that demand these and also want to have
the ability to control their bills and what they consume," EDF
Chief Executive Officer Jean-Bernard Levy said at the launch.
"Customers want to manage their energy use and tailor it to
their budgets," he said.
Efficient ways of consuming energy have become important as
the world moves to curb global warming by cutting greenhouse gas
emissions that mostly come from the energy sector. The
International Energy Agency said in a report on Monday that
global energy efficiency was improving.
Levy said the new services and unit will enable EDF to
increase its share in the gas market, but the main aim was to
become number one in the French connected home sector.
He said the initial target was to sign up a million clients
within 10 years, but that was at a low end of their estimate
because demand could pick up sharply and grow to include other
services such as home security.
EDF, which provides electricity to about 25 million clients,
also has over one million customers in the French gas segment.
Levy said the product will initially target gas users and
French homes that use gas for heating, before expanding into
other European markets.
"It was easier to start with gas, which has one central
heater at home," he said. "For electricity, there are multiple
heating points which makes it difficult, but that will come in
the second phase."
(Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Tom Heneghan)