PARIS, Oct 13 (Reuters) - 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)