Posted by Heidi Schwartz
Frost & Sullivan conducted a customer survey to determine perception and purchase criteria for electricity and energy service management among commercial & industrial (C&I) companies. The survey indicates that US customers are satisfied with their existing provider and very few intend to change their provider at the end of their contract.
“Nevertheless, the majority of customers do not plan to switch providers to lower energy costs, as they perceive little product differentiation among the utilities,” said Frost & Sullivan Energy & Environmental Principal Consultant Farah Saeed. “Therefore, vendors that focus on product development and enhanced offerings, particularly in the area of energy management, will win new customers.”
Energy providers can offer customer value and differentiation through services such as supply management, energy efficiency management, facility optimization and demand response. However, most customers conduct these functions in-house and do not seek to outsource them to third-party vendors.
Nearly 70 percent of those who did outsource energy management services preferred utilities as the primary vendors. They may be persuaded to collaborate with a third-party energy management solution provider if it can clearly demonstrate operational cost savings.
“Currently, customers do not comprehend the difference between distribution utility and competitive electricity retailer,” noted Saeed. “Therefore, appropriate marketing campaigns that promote the benefits of deregulations will go a long way in increasing participants’ market shares and brand awareness.”