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What are Kaluza, Flex, Orion and Vcharge? Kaluza AMA

  • 30 July 2020
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Broaching another matter, can Fionn and Josh please provide some clarity as to what nouns you use for what?!

The company which OVO bought was called Vcharge. As I understand it, the main asset was the algorithm/expertise to manage distributed stored-energy resources.

Next, we learn that OVO has received investment from Mitsubishi, and that the “asset” has been located within a Division of OVO called Kaluza. So this is not the same as a separate company. Correct?

I’m then told that the software in question is to be henceforth referred to as the Kaluza Platform. Fair enough...

… until I read the headers for this discussion topic, when you refer to Flex.

Is that another new name for the core software?

Or is Flex a user-interface to the Kaluza Platform?

For how many months will your answer remain valid? :wink:

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Best answer by Tim_OVO 22 October 2020, 10:15

Here’s our latest answer from Josh, app Product Manager for Kaluza:

 

Hi @Transparent, yes, even we get confused sometimes!

 

You're right, we acquired VCharge in February 2017. Following Mitsubishi's investment in OVO in February 2019, VCharge was rebranded to Kaluza to reflect how the business had evolved in the intervening two years. After our acquisition of SSE's retail energy business at the beginning of 2020, Orion, our energy retail platform, was brought into Kaluza to accelerate its growth. To differentiate between what used to be VCharge and Orion, the flexibility platform was rebranded as Flex. Who knows what the future might hold in terms of rebranding?

 

 

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Here’s our latest answer from Josh, app Product Manager for Kaluza:

 

Hi @Transparent, yes, even we get confused sometimes!

 

You're right, we acquired VCharge in February 2017. Following Mitsubishi's investment in OVO in February 2019, VCharge was rebranded to Kaluza to reflect how the business had evolved in the intervening two years. After our acquisition of SSE's retail energy business at the beginning of 2020, Orion, our energy retail platform, was brought into Kaluza to accelerate its growth. To differentiate between what used to be VCharge and Orion, the flexibility platform was rebranded as Flex. Who knows what the future might hold in terms of rebranding?

 

 

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FYI @Jequinlan @sylm_2000 @ArundaleP you may find Josh’s reply worth a read :blush:

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Excellent answer - thanks Josh.

So, I immediately have two further requests for clarification:

 

1: within some small print T&Cs I spotted the following “Intelligent Energy Technology Limited (Kaluza)

That’s puzzling.

a: The Kaluza I thought we were talking about came out of the company called VCharge Trading (SC515766), which was bought by OVO and has now been closed as an active business.

b: Whereas Intelligent Energy Trading (08330989) was a name change from OVO Energy Trading Ltd in 2015.

c: When Mitsubishi bought a stake in OVO, the media release identified Kaluza as a Division within OVO Energy, rather than a separate company.

So it seems that the name Kaluza has been used variously in referring to three different entities.

All of the above detail is on Companies House Website and elsewhere. It is clearly operating legally. But it’s just getting difficult for us Forum Members to use the name Kaluza in the correct setting.

Can we please have some advice/guidance?!

And can we please continue to be kept updated if you’d like us to refer to these companies and trading names differently at any point in the future?

 

2: Bringing development of the new Billing System software with the R&D environment of Kaluza makes sense.

Firstly it can be better integrated with the charging strategies which will be required as customers incorporate energy storage and export within their account portfolio.

Secondly, the software can be made available for use by other Energy Suppliers apart from OVO. I’m thinking particularly of other domestic energy companies which have recently been bought into the OVO group in other EU countries.

 

In both of the above instances I’m hoping that us contributors can more accurately use the terminology rather than needing to know the intricacies of OVO’s legal status!

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Bringing development of the new Billing System software with the R&D environment of Kaluza makes sense.

Firstly it can be better integrated with the charging strategies which will be required as customers incorporate energy storage and export within their account portfolio.

Secondly, the software can be made available for use by other Energy Suppliers apart from OVO. I’m thinking particularly of other domestic energy companies which have recently been bought into the OVO group in other EU countries.

 

Yep, that’s the strategy @Transparent - we’re building an energy platform to help our members, and offer other suppliers around the world the option of using it as well. Plan Zero in action! 

 

 

1: within some small print T&Cs I spotted the following “Intelligent Energy Technology Limited (Kaluza)

That’s puzzling.

a: The Kaluza I thought we were talking about came out of the company called VCharge Trading (SC515766), which was bought by OVO and has now been closed as an active business.

b: Whereas Intelligent Energy Trading (08330989) was a name change from OVO Energy Trading Ltd in 2015.

c: When Mitsubishi bought a stake in OVO, the media release identified Kaluza as a Division within OVO Energy, rather than a separate company.

So it seems that the name Kaluza has been used variously in referring to three different entities.

All of the above detail is on Companies House Website and elsewhere. It is clearly operating legally. But it’s just getting difficult for us Forum Members to use the name Kaluza in the correct setting.

Can we please have some advice/guidance?!

And can we please continue to be kept updated if you’d like us to refer to these companies and trading names differently at any point in the future?

 

You do like to keep me busy, ey @Transparent :wink:

 

Kaluza is part of OVO Group, which Mitsubishi bought a stake in. Let me try and get some clarification on company listings

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An update on this for all of those who are interested, I’m looking mainly at you, @Transparent 

 

@Transparent I wouldn’t get too caught up with which legal entity represents Kaluza and vice versa. Kaluza is currently a trading name and is used to differentiate between OVO’s energy retail and technology businesses. The business is fast growing and constantly evolving and legal entities are created and disbanded as required for progressing our plans.

 

What’s in a name - what’s in a number? What’s for dinner? 

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So the reason that it’s important for us consumers to understand what Kaluza refers to, is this statement from Josh about the Flex platform which I’ll re-quote from where it was posted here.

Our founder Stephen Fitzpatrick [….]  says his vision for OVO is to get to a point where it's considered Critical National Infrastructure. We would very much like to become the de facto standard and are pursuing a number of partnerships with this in mind.

This is good news indeed.

However, if Flex is to become the UK standard for intelligent control of energy devices in the home, then it must remain in the hands of a British company, rather than subject to the intentions of foreign investors/shareholders.

It was a serious blow for the UK to lose the processor-designer, ARM Holdings, which was bought out by Softbank (and now being acquired by Nvidia). Whyever have we permitted the licensor of this amazing chip-family to fall into foreign hands just as the Internet-Of-Things (IoT) is in rapid growth?!

But losing control of the mechanism which delivers domestic energy commands into our homes would be unconscionable for the British Government.

Stephen Fitzpatrick and the Board of the OVO Group can’t have it both ways. If the vision is for Flex to become the de facto standard, then the company which owns it must desist from securing overseas funding.

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