A new study of over 1,000 U.S. utility ratepayers, released on March 2 by Atlanta-based marketing analytics company, Bug Insights, has found that consumers in deregulated markets are significantly more engaged with their energy suppliers.
Overall, the researchers found, electricity providers in deregulated markets “had a far better reputation than those in regulated markets.” Indeed, they established that:
- Fully 68 percent of respondents in deregulated markets were satisfied with their providers, while only 51 percent of respondents in regulated markets could say the same;
- Sixty-two percent of consumers in competitive markets knew exactly how much their electricity cost last month, as compared to just 54 percent regulated markets ; and
- Sixty-two percent of those in deregulated markets who participated in the survey thought their supplier had a good reputation, contrasting with only 42% percent in regulated markets.
Willingness to recommend by demographics
Interestingly enough, demographic Traditionalists (age 71+) were found to be more willing to recommend their energy suppliers than anyone else interviewed. Seventy percent of respondents in that age bracket were willing to endorse their providers.
From 47 percent to 49 percent of those in other demographic groups said they would be willing to recommend – Millennial (ages 18 to 35), Gen –Xers (ages 36 to 54), and Baby Boomers (ages 55 to 70).
However when it came to actually recommending utilities companies, the numbers were very different: Only 24 percent of Traditionalists have, in reality, recommended their electricity provider to another customer. By comparison, 28 percent of Baby Boomers and 46 percent of Gen-Xers have done so. Millennials turn out to be the most likely to recommend an electricity provider – with 62 percent having done so at least once.
The survey also ranked 15 of the top electricity provider brands active in regulated and deregulated markets according to which were considered to be most trustworthy.
The researchers found that ConEdison was the most trustworthy brand, with 19 percent of respondents identifying that provider as the single most trustworthy utility. ConEdison was followed by Pacific Gas and Electric, with 16 percent; and Duke Energy with 12 percent.
Pricing drives purchases
The study looked at the most important factors that drive purchasing. The analysis found that, overall, 81 percent of participants pointed to pricing as the single most important feature, followed by contract length (11 percent).
Across all respondents Bug Insight found that, if a provider could offer a cheaper price for power, it could provide longer contract lengths, less comprehensive customer service,nd no free or bonus services – and still could see an increase in customer satisfaction.