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Can smart meters improve utility customer satisfaction?

Tuesday 21st February 2012

Last week JD Power and Associates announced the results of their annual Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study, surveying 24,000 US utility business customers, which has shown a clear correlation between smart meters and utility satisfaction.

As reported by Greenbang, the satisfaction survey showed that those businesses that have smart meters - 16% of those surveyed - had on average satisfaction scores of 85 points higher than those that don’t. Indeed, merely knowing that their electricity companies are deploying smart meters led to satisfaction scores on average 79 points higher than those customers unaware of their utility company’s smart meter plans.

Clearly these results make for very interesting reading. Not only does the study help support the case for the smart meter roll out in the UK and elsewhere in the world, it should also provide some food for thought for utility companies and energy suppliers.

Given recent surveys in the UK that have shown rising customer dissatisfaction with the ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers - in January the Which? annual energy company satisfaction survey revealed ‘Big Six’ energy companies received over four million complaints in the year up to September 2011 - it seems that these results offer energy suppliers some insight into how to enhance their customer relationships.

At the start of this year our CEO Chris Saunders predicted that 2012 could be the year that sees the start of the break up of the ‘Big Six’ dominated UK energy market as consumer pressure instigates dramatic changes in the market. However these results from the US show the value that embracing smart meter technology could have for the major energy suppliers.

Energy suppliers need to recognise that the smart meter roll out is a major opportunity to put consumer trust and customer relationships at the heart of their proposition. If not, they risk losing market share forever.

 

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