TOKYO, January 16, 2014 - Rakuten Energy and Ennet Corporation, power producer and supplier (PPS) today announced that they will conduct a pilot program this winter for "Warmshare" by using the Smapo smartphone point service, which awards users redeemable points for visiting participating stores, and is offered by Spotlight Inc, a Rakuten Group company.
Rakuten Energy, operated by Rakuten is working with Spotlight in the field of demand response for household users1. The use of Smapo for the pilot program is the first case the service has been applied in demand response for the home. Ennet, Japan's largest2 PPS, was established to take advantage of the liberalization in the sector. Through this pilot program, Rakuten Energy will be able to assess from different angles the strategic positioning of demand response in the electricity supply chain, and imbalances in the residential power supply segment.
This pilot program, which will be conducted until March 2014, will introduce "Warmshare," where rather than using home heating devices, families go out to gather at designated places, thereby reducing the amount of power they use. Through Smapo, a "Warmshare Request Notice" will be sent via smartphone to a customer who upon check-in at a participating merchant, is automatically issued loyalty reward points. In addition, "Warmshare" participants will also be eligible to receive special perks, such as double the points. Through "Warmshare," Rakuten Energy is proposing new lifestyle choices to consumers, including fun and reasonable ways to cut back on electricity usage.
Moreover, under the pilot program, monitoring and evaluation of results will be carried out in collaboration with Rakuten Research with which Rakuten Energy will jointly carry out tasks such as analyzing energy data and examining the correlation between points incentives and power saving behavior. Leveraging the synergies of the Rakuten Group companies by working with Rakuten Research and Spotlight, Rakuten is committed to developing new and high value-added energy services that are cost competitive.
Since its launch in June 2013, Rakuten Energy has been promoting various services, such as the digital energy business, including demand response services for firms compliant with OpenADR, and the Power Management Service3, which offers customers ways to optimize their overall energy mix when buying electricity. In November 2013, Rakuten, through its tie-up with Smapo, began developing a platform for offering and popularizing demand response services, and also commenced efforts to develop new services with PPS aimed at the full-scale liberalization of the electricity retailing market for residential users. Going forward, Rakuten intends to offer multifaceted solutions for PPS and high voltage power receiving companies for condominium buildings, including supply-demand imbalance risk management, and demand management for establishing more efficient power supply facilities.