AGL plans $300m, three-year digital transformation

Energy company to invest in modernising core IT infrastructure

Image credit: AGL.

Image credit: AGL.

Energy company AGL is expecting to spend in the region of $300 million over three years as part of a digital transformation program.

AGL managing director and CEO, Andy Vesey, revealed details of the planned investment today during a briefing on the company’s full year results.

“It is about delivering an industry leading digital experience to drive value for customers and ultimately change the quality of their relationship with AGL,” Vesey said.

The program has three core components: Foundational capability, digital adoption and what the CEO described as “signature moments” made possible through AGL’s digital investment.

“The foundational capability component relates to the significant investment in core technologies, processes and people to create the digital platform,” Vesey said. “Bear in mind much of our IT architecture predates the smartphone age.”

The CEO said that a significant portion of the capability that AGL will seek to invest in relates to the data-driven personalisation of services.

“The digital adoption component relates to the digital enablement of all key customer interactions, such as signing up to AGL, billing, issue resolution and moving house,” Vesey told the briefing. “The signature moment component is the part of the transformation that relates to delivering digital experiences that charm and delight the customer in unmatched ways.”

As outcomes of the program, AGL expects improved customer acquisition and retention, improved front-office efficiency and accelerated take up of new, profitable digital offerings, the CEO said.

In September last year AGL recruited the Commonwealth Bank IT executive Simon Moorfield to be the energy company's new CIO. Moorfield's appointment followed a significant restructure that AGL begun implementing earlier in 2015, which included the departure of CIO Owen Coppage.

During today's briefing Vesey also touched on AGL’s ‘virtual power plant’ project in South Australia, which will be based on the platform of US company Sunverge and involve the rollout of 1000 connected batteries in homes and businesses in the state.

“It offers consumers the opportunity to be part of the world’s largest virtual power plant, giving them greater ability to consume more of the energy generated from their own rooftop solar systems, lowering power bills, reducing emissions and purchasing a battery at a significant discount,” Vesey said in a statement on the project issued last week.

“The virtual power plant will be capable of storing 7 MWh of energy, with an output equivalent to a 5 MW solar peaking plant. We believe it will demonstrate alternative ways to manage peaks in energy demand, contributing to grid stability and supporting the higher penetration of intermittent, renewable generation on the grid.”

AGL acquired 22 per cent of Sunverge for $22 million in early February. Development of the South Australian project will commence in September.

AGL reported a statutory loss after tax of $408 million for the year ended 30 June, which the company said reflected write-downs in natural gas assets and changes in the fair value of certain electricity derivatives. Underlying Profit was $701 million, up 11.3 per cent.

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