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Tibber Powers Cheaper, Greener Electricity with AWS

2021

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We looked at which cloud provider we could grow and scale with from a technical point of view and which one would give us the biggest benefit from a business perspective. It was AWS.”

Edgeir Vårdal Aksnes
CEO and co-founder, Tibber

The founders of Nordic digital-first energy startup Tibber wanted to find a better way to help customers save money and consume less electricity. But accomplishing this would require a new business model.

The incumbent energy suppliers charge a premium on top of every kilowatt hour sold and make more money the more electricity customers use. To prioritize the interests of their customers—and the planet—Tibber founders Daniel Lindén and Edgeir Vårdal Aksnes decided the company must never profit from energy usage. Instead, the company charges a flat monthly fee of approximately €3.50, and then offers customers energy at the purchase price.

The idea has taken off, thanks to a digital solution powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Founded in the small Norwegian city of Førde in 2016, Tibber now provides electricity to households in Norway, Sweden, and Germany. It estimates that the average customer saves 20 percent on electricity bills compared to previous providers.

Three-Part Solution Saves Customers Money

The company delivers those savings through a three-part solution based on AWS.

Tibber’s intelligent energy platform buys electricity from producers with renewable energy sources on an hourly basis to find the best prices for customers. Customers install a smart appliance such as the Tibber Pulse in their home to monitor their electrical appliances and communicate with Tibber. They then use an app to manage their usage to take advantage of the lowest prices.

“To come this far in a short time, we have used the best technology and tools to manage communication about electricity supply and consumption with our customers,” says Tibber CEO and co-founder Edgeir Vårdal Aksnes.

Tibber knew it wanted a cloud solution from the beginning. When the founders investigated the companies they admired for their secrets to success, they discovered that they all used AWS. “We looked at which cloud provider we could grow and scale with from a technical point of view and which one would give us the biggest benefit from a business perspective,” says Aksnes. “It was AWS.”

IoT Core Keeps Billons of Messages Flowing

Tibber has grown quickly, with customer numbers and the number of IoT devices it sells doubling every six months. And the volume of data sent back and forth between customers’ homes and Tibber has increased as well, as customers use more features and data the longer they’re with the company.

The Tibber app and in-home smart device show customers their real-time electricity consumption and prices. This enables them to monitor and adjust their usage to lower electricity bills.

Customers can set tasks with certain parameters, such as making sure your electric car is fully charged by 8am or your home is warm when you arrive home from work. Tibber then monitors energy prices and makes sure car batteries are charged or homes heated when prices are lowest.

Tibber uses AWS IoT Core to manage this flow of information about real-time energy usage. The company sent more than 710 billion messages through IoT Core in May 2021. Tibber credits AWS with conveying messages in a timely manner, so customers can optimize their consumption based on current demand on the power grid. This means they could avoid, for example, charging an electrical vehicle at high power while also using other appliances and risk blowing a fuse.

It’s also important that communication is stable, as customers rely on Tibber for essential tasks such as heating their homes during cold winter months. AWS provides excellent uptime and has had no significant outages, according to Toni Juvani, software developer at Tibber.

Juvani appreciates the scalability, performance, and availability of Amazon Kinesis, which conveys real-time data about customers’ energy usage from home smart devices to the Tibber system where it is processed and analyzed. The information is then stored in Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL, as well as Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and Amazon Redshift.

“With just a few clicks, I can increase memory allocation,” says Juvani. “As Tibber continues to grow, Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) makes it simple to adjust the number of instances for services.”

AWS Lambda allows Tibber to easily manage the bursts of messages at certain times of the day or year. And Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) and Amazon Simple Queue Service  (SQS) provide asynchronous messaging that allows Tibber to scale up and process increasing amounts of data as customer numbers rise.

Thanks to AWS, Tibber minimizes the maintenance overhead for managing its digital solution, too. This means its small development team has more time for core tasks such as fine-tuning the energy-buying platform and improving the customer experience.

AWS Helps Tibber Scale for the Future

Tibber began with the twin goals of prioritizing customers’ desires for lower energy costs, as well as the greater societal aim of lowering overall consumption. “Our differentiation from traditional energy companies centers on empowering customers, giving them insights that are simple to understand and tech-based solutions that are easy to implement at home,” says Aksnes. “To make this happen, we have to use the best technology and data analytics.”

Tibber’s future plans include hiring approximately 300 new employees and operating in a total of 10 markets by the end of 2022. Just as AWS has helped it to shake up the energy sector, it will now enable its next phase of growth.


About Tibber

Founded in Norway in 2016, Tibber provides electricity to more than 200,000 households in Norway, Sweden, and Germany. Its digital solution allows customers to reduce their energy bills by 20 percent compared to traditional providers. 

Benefits of AWS

  • Flexible infrastructure
  • Improved customer experience
  • Higher staff productivity
  • Data insights

AWS Services Used

AWS IoT Core

AWS IoT Core lets you connect IoT devices to the AWS cloud without the need to provision or manage servers. AWS IoT Core can support billions of devices and trillions of messages, and can process and route those messages to AWS endpoints and to other devices reliably and securely.

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AWS Lambda

AWS Lambda is a serverless compute service that lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers, creating workload-aware cluster scaling logic, maintaining event integrations, or managing runtimes.

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Amazon Kinesis

Amazon Kinesis makes it easy to collect, process, and analyze real-time, streaming data so you can get timely insights and react quickly to new information. 

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Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL has become the preferred open source relational database for many enterprise developers and start-ups, powering leading business and mobile applications. 

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