Earlier questions about the effectiveness of Kylo Ren's lightsaber's design, in my opinion, is moot because they are all based on the assumption that those two side-blades are primarily intended to be crossguards - they are all speculator.
We now have facts about them, however. These two side-blades are in fact the venting of excess energy directed away from the fractured kyber crystal within to keep the lightsaber from blowing up. While still dangerous enough to hurt on physical contact, something intended to vent out as much waste energy as possible to prevent a meltdown still works very differently from something intended to output energy to form a mini "laser sword".
So, even though they aren't crossguards, can Kylo Ren still utilize these waste energy - which is ultimately still the same energy used in lightsaber blades - in combat? How effective would they be in blocking and inflicting damage?
The focus is on the vented energy's raw damage and defensive potential, not the feasibility of incorporating it into saber combat styles.