Energy market ‘disruptor’ set to launch UK operation later this year

Somayeh Tahiri
X The Business Desk

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Blockchain and artificial technology company UrbanChain has revealed plans to launch in the UK.

The Manchester-based disruptor says it is set to redesign the energy market by halving household bills, ending fuel poverty and improving people’s lives.

Alongside the core mission to support vulnerable households, ensuring they benefit from reduced bills, the business also has its sights set on reducing SMEs’ annual energy bills by 40%.

Dr Somayeh Taheri established UrbanChain in 2017 and now leads a staff of 12 from an office inside Circle Square’s Manchester Technology Centre.

She said UrbanChain – which works closely with Ofgem, BEIS, and local authorities – plans to launch this September, following a pre-market trial.

The free pre-market trial taking place in April will see up to 100 households and up to 10 energy generators take part.

“UrbanChain is now in a very exciting phase,” said Dr Taheri, who was supported by the UMIP Innovation Optimiser Programme, run by The University of Manchester’s innovation company, UMI3 in 2016.

“With our blockchain platform, households and small businesses can significantly save on their energy bills.

“And with our AI (artificial intelligence) system, governments can predict households in need of energy support effectively and efficiently.”

Using the cloud, UrbanChain matches household’s daily energy consumption patterns with the best deal offered by generators before issuing virtual bills daily via its app, which then allows consumers to switch to the best and cheapest deals with just two clicks of a button.

“We’re redesigning the market by eliminating the middle man, providing security, transparency and trust in urban systems. Our competitors are those working in the energy sector and blockchain companies,” said Dr Taheri.

“UrbanChain shows the full potential of how blockchain can improve people’s lives as, on average, households currently pay £1,200 to £1,400-a-year for energy.

“There’s also 100% security on our blockchain platform as you are not submitting your data to the supplier. You are communicating your data to a black box and the data then comes back to you, meaning you are a data owner, not UrbanChain.”

By September 2019 UrbanChain expects to be in a position to launch in the UK, with a view to scaling up its service offering thereafter.

“We expect to employ 20 people by the end of the year,” said Dr Taheri.

“Current talks with the NHS are also progressing, along with a proposed a scheme that could potentially enable GPs to issue energy vouchers to patients who are living with fuel poverty.

“This is an exciting development as fuel poverty costs the NHS £1.36bn each year.”