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Energy customers want more from utility providers

Jack Loo | July 24, 2013
Cost savings and customised services are in demand: Survey

Singapore SMBs are turning to their utility providers to inform and assist them in choosing energy saving options, according to an Accenture study.

According to Accenture's latest New Energy Consumer research, local SMBs are looking for information from their providers on ways to reduce their energy bill and better manage energy usage. Two thousand two hundred businesses across nine countries, including 200 Singapore businesses, were surveyed for the research.

"In this era of economic uncertainty and fundamental change in the evolving energy marketplace, utilities have an incredible opportunity to engage these often-neglected SMBs, which have long been considered the backbone of economic growth," said Greg Guthridge, global managing director for Accenture Energy Consumer Services.

The surveyed Singapore SMBs believe it is important for utilities to offer solutions such as rate plans tailored to their business. Also, 71 percent indicated that they would be willing to pay a premium for these additional levels of "tailoring", much higher than the global average of 53 percent.

With the rising operating costs including energy bills, 87 percent of the surveyed Singapore companies are interested in products that would enable them to generate their own energy such as solar panels. This percentage is the highest among all the countries surveyed and is higher than the global average of 74 percent.

More information for consumers

Meanwhile, Singapore residential consumers want more information on energy management, the survey reported. For the first time this year, residential consumers were included in the research. More than 11,000 residential consumers in 21 countries, with 500 respondents from Singapore, were surveyed for the research.

Sixty-two percent of Singapore consumers plan to invest in energy-related products and/or services for their home such as energy-efficient appliances or smart thermostats in the next 12 months. The top three barriers for consumers to invest in such products are costs, the lack of knowledge of available products and the perceived lack of savings on energy bills.

The increased use of mobile devices and the large proportion of tech-savvy consumers in Singapore are driving the demand for mobile energy experiences with personalised information. More than half (52 percent) of the consumers surveyed say they would like to receive notifications about their energy usage on their mobile devices. Thirty-four percent said they would like to have the ability to remotely control their air-conditioning and home appliances using their mobile devices. 

"It's becoming clear that utilities are at a turning point when it comes to serving the new, tech-savvy Singapore consumer," Guthridge said. "Satisfaction and trust are built on consistently delivering the basic customer experience whether through digital or traditional channels. Once in place, utilities have incredible opportunities to create digitally-powered value propositions that can deliver step-change consumer engagement."


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