- Some 30% of utility customers would reportedly choose another electricity provider and 64% of those customers would choose an alternative provider like Google, Comcast, or SolarCity, according to a survey from the Shelton Group.
- Dissatisfaction with utilities among those surveyed rose from 43% in January 2013 to 55% in August 2014, according to Shelton’s Energy Pulse.
- The solution for utilities, according to Shelton Group President Suzanne Shelton, is to be proactive in building better customer relationships and providing services their customers want, like bundled home energy control options and automated energy efficiency systems.
The survey reports that a big opportunity for utilities is in the home energy management market. It is presently at $1.5 billion and expected to grow to $4 billion by 2017. Cable and telecom companies are already selling smart thermostats and lighting controls while most utilities are still just dabbling.
Another place where utilities are not advancing is in developing smartphone apps for their customers. Customers’ interest in these things is reflected by the numbers: 71% of survey respondents want to buy smart homes and 58% want to live in energy-efficient apartments but the number of those who want to do the efficiency upgrades themselves is down.
Utilities have even failed to take the first step by identifying coherent customer strategies that would create customer loyalty, according to Shaping the Right Experience from PricewaterhouseCoopers.