Majority of Consumers Would Buy Electricity, Energy-Efficiency Products and Related Services From Companies Other Than Energy Suppliers, Accenture Study Finds

Households look beyond price and demand more convenience, fun and consumer technologies from electricity management programs

NEW YORK; April 13, 2011 – A majority of consumers would consider buying electricity and energy efficiency solutions from companies other than traditional energy providers, according to research conducted by Accenture (NYSE: ACN).

Revealing the Values of the New Energy Consumer, a survey of 10,199 people in 18 countries , found that 73 percent of consumers would consider buying electricity, energy efficiency products and related services from companies other than traditional energy providers. The survey also found that:

“Incumbent utilities clearly remain the provider of choice, but new ‘beyond-the-meter’ products and services offer an opportunity for alternative suppliers. They are also raising consumer expectations about the nature and quality of service,” said Greg Guthridge, global managing director, Accenture Retail and Business Services for Utilities. “Electricity providers will have to broaden the range of their services, be innovative and transform the way they engage with consumers. Utilities could potentially capitalize on the opportunity by working with other consumer brands to drive added value products and services.”

Consumers look beyond price

While impact on the electricity bill remains the main factor, respondents considered other elements when making their decision to adopt an electricity management program. A majority (57 percent) would adopt an electricity management program even if it did not reduce their electricity bills. Almost a third (29 percent) would adopt a program that required them to pay 5 percent more on their electricity bill.

Consumers look for greater convenience and mobility

Smart consumer technologies will be key components of energy management programs as customers look for greater convenience and mobility:

Electricity – fun for the whole family?

Householders also expect electricity services to be a family matter. 89 percent say it is somewhat or very important for electricity management programs to be easy to use for the whole family. 53 percent think it somewhat or very important for electricity management programs to be fun to use. When asked what features they would look for, 20 percent say they would be interested in electricity management programs that included family activities and games about electricity usage.

“Electricity is no longer a commodity, but a part of our lifestyle choices,” said Guthridge. “Consumers want energy management to be fun and family-oriented. Utilities must appeal to the new energy consumers’ changing tastes before other companies enter the evolving energy marketplace by leveraging their own consumer oriented brands.”

Face time matters

Consumers exhibit a strong preference for face to face contact when purchasing energy-related products and services. When buying energy-efficient products, such as smart thermostats, 52 percent of respondents say they want to make a purchase with a staff member in a store location. Only 29 percent would be happy purchasing online without interacting with staff. When buying a ‘set and forget’ energy program, 63 percent would want to purchase from a staff member either in store or at their home.

Data privacy: a smaller obstacle than anticipated?

Consumers may “opt-in” to allow third-party providers access to personal usage information if they perceive value. 63 percent of consumers state that third parties having access to their personal information for the purposes of making a program work would not prevent them from signing up for an electricity management program. Moreover, 48 percent state that third parties having access to their personal information for the purposes of offering additional services to help them save on their electricity bill would not prevent them from signing up for an electricity management program.

Accenture’s Research Program and Methodology

Accenture’s study, Revealing the Values of the New Energy Consumer, is based on an online survey conducted in native languages with 10,199 residential end customers in 18 countries, during December 2010.

The study is the second installment in Accenture’s multi-year research program aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of consumer’s attitudes, opinions and preferences toward energy management programs. The first research installment, Understanding Consumer Preferences in Energy Efficiency, was released in April 2010. Complementing the research, The New Energy Consumer – Strategic Perspectives on the Evolving Energy Marketplace outlines the forces influencing the energy consumer marketplace, the emerging business models, the broad currents shaping the industry and actions energy providers can take now.

About Accenture

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 215,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$21.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2010. Its home page is


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