Utilities Market Research

Utilities
Market Research

Utilities Market Research

Utilities market research - including energy market research and water market research  – is a sector in which DJS Research has vast experience. We have worked with numerous regulatory bodies, water and energy companies and other utilities providers and service clients, some of which are pictured below, to deliver a range of qualitative and quantitative research projects utilising the full array of research techniques. We work for clients on either an ad-hoc or tracking basis, and currently provide customer service research on a daily basis for one of the world’s largest energy retailers.

We have experience of a wide array of research projects relating to utilities including:

utilities

Water Market Research

With water companies busily embarking on their business plans and water resource management plans for AMP7 and preparation for NHH Retail Reform well underway, demand for market research in the water sector continues. DJS Research has worked with 8 water companies in the last 12 months, in addition to Water UK, CCWater and UKWIR.

We are continuously working with our clients to ensure our research is relevant, robust and innovative. Our experience spans Household and Non Household customers and includes:

Business Planning

  • Customer priorities
  • Performance measures
  • Resilience 
  • ODIs
  • Social tariffs
  • NHH default tariffs
  • Acceptability research
  • Willingness to pay

Water Resource Management Plans

  • Customer priorities
  • Willingness to pay
  • Resilience research
  • Occupancy surveys
  • Water saving behaviours

Market Reform

  • Awareness and perception surveys
  • Customer Needs Research
  • Product Development
  • Tariffs
  • Key Accounts Research
  • Exit Strategies

Customer Service

  • Customer satisfaction including SIM replica surveys
  • Billing research
  • Research to develop customer service principles
  • Visitor surveys at reservoirs
  • Supply interruptions

Brand and Reputation

  • Perception trackers
  • Branding research
  • Customer perception trackers

Communications 

  • Sewer misuse
  • Sewerage pipe replacement
  • Lead pipe replacement
  • Resilience programmes

Our researchers are experienced in qualitative research (traditional focus groups, online focus groups, deliberative research, in depth interviews, teledepths) and quantitative research (online, face to face, CATI) using a range of statistical methods (stated preference – Max Diff, Contingent Valuation, Conjoint), segmentation, TURF Analysis, Van Westendorp and regression and correlation).

For your convenience, we have also provided links to research reports carried out by DJS Research and available in the public domain:

Consumer Council for Water – Water Matters 2015

Consumer Council for Water – Water Matters 2014

Consumer Council for Water - Exit Strategies

Consumer Council for Water - Testing the Waters: SME customers’ views on water & sewerage services 2014

Consumer Council for Water – Draft Determination Research

Tap water market research

DJS Research have experience carrying out tap water market research projects in both a B2B and B2C capacity, as well as within the broader water sector. To read more about DJS Research's tap water experience, please visit our dedicated tap water market research webpage.

Occupancy survey experience

Two of our water sector researchers, Ali Sims and Alex McCluckie, attended the UKWIR Integration of Behaviour into Demand Forecasting and Water Efficiency Practices workshop recently, where we presented on best practice when it comes to demand forecasting research and in particular occupancy surveys.
 
DJS Research has undertaken occupancy surveys for a number of WaSCs and WoCs including Thames Water, Southern Water, Affinity Water and Yorkshire Water over the last few years. These have been undertaken using a telephone methodology. DJS Research has an in house CATI (computer Assisted Telephone Unit) which houses 60 CATI stations. Recent occupancy surveys have consisted of as many as 10,000 interviews. The advantage of a telephone methodology over a postal methodology is that quotas can be set to ensure that a representative sample of customers is surveyed. In postal surveys some groups, typically the over 65’s, can be over-represented.

If you are interested in discussing this further, please contact Ali Sims, Research Director on asims@djsresearch.com  or Alex McCluckie on amccluckie@djsresearch.com or give us a ring on 01663 767857.

Water testimonials

Our extensive experience in other sectors and especially the energy market, enables us to add value to our water market research. Clients for whom DJS Research has recently carried out water market research projects have said:

"DJS Research took the time to understand our research requirements and responded with a professional proposal that added value to our research objectives and was also very good value for money. The whole project ran smoothly with no delays and was professionally managed throughout. I would be happy to use DJS Research for any future studies and would recommend them to others." United Utilities

“DJS has been carrying out customer satisfaction surveys for Southern Water since July 2010. The service provided has been excellent. The team are extremely flexible in meeting our needs and have been invaluable in assisting us in designing our surveys.” Southern Water

“Ali and Lyn were always friendly, approachable, professional and eager to provide a good service.” Yorkshire Water

"The team at DJS were a pleasure to work with and the project ran exactly to plan, and provided great insight into a substantial piece of work we are doing to improve the Customer Experience. We'll be able to make some sound recommendations and business decisions based on the insight, ensuring we're prioritising and investing in initiatives that our customer value most. I would most definitely recommend them and look forward to working with them again in the future."   Large water service provider  

Energy Market Research

We work with National Grid and energy organisations on both the retail and distribution side of the industry and keep up to date with developments in the sector through attending energy market research events, electricity conferences and other relevant gatherings. Ali Sims has completed research on behalf of some of the UK’s largest energy sector bodies and is experienced in applying market research methodologies to a wide array of business problems.

Energy Market Research – Retail Experience

Research for Ofgem has highlighted growing consumer disengagement from the energy market with 70% of consumers neither switching supplier, tariff or payment method in 2012. The research also showed trust in energy suppliers to be on the decline.

Ofgem’s Retail Market Reform is the first step towards engaging consumers and building their trust. Under the reform, retailers are being asked to provide consumers with fewer, simpler tariffs and clearer explanations of what their options are. In a market where differentiation has been increasingly based on price, retailers are now looking at alternative ways of standing out e.g. through energy management or the provision of excellent customer service.

Ali Sims, who leads the utilities and energy market research team at DJS Research, has vast experience researching businesses, consumers and suppliers across a range of issues affecting the market including:

  • Customer satisfaction tracking
  • Proposition testing
  • Customer needs  
  • Customer loyalty
  • Branding
  • Energy management
  • Pricing, tariffs and contracts
  • Energy services

“I have been delighted with the research. As you already know I was very impressed with the qualitative interviews and the debrief was also very good.  The feedback I have received from others who attended was that they were impressed and found the findings useful and the debrief easy to understand and comprehensive. I was very pleased with the service that DJS offered as a whole and feel that they grasped the objectives of the project very well and understand the SME business well which enables them to get the best out of the respondents.” E.on

Energy Market Research - Distribution Experience

Energy network providers are facing numerous challenges as they try to juggle the evolving nature of electricity generation with the changing patterns in customer demand.

With usage of electricity predicted to increase in the future as more homes and cars become reliant on this mode of energy, providers are challenged with meeting the demands being placed on them at a low cost to customers.

Ofgem’s RIIO aims to drive real benefits to consumers by incentivising DNOs to meet the challenges of delivering a sustainable energy sector at a lower cost. The Energy and Utilities team at DJS has extensive experiencing of conducting research for DNOs and can help providers meet these challenges by conducting research with customers. Our experience covers:

  • Voice of the customer covering outages; connections and excavations
  • Vulnerable customer research – sensitively conducted with customers and charities

With increasing focus being placed on the needs of small service connections and vulnerable customers, we are well placed to help DNOs better understand these audiences.

Utilities Market Research - Regulatory and Other Industry Bodies

We have also carried out research for Consumer Focus which relates to complaints in the Utilities sector and is available in the public domain. In addition, we have also carried out research with low-income energy customers in Wales, in to the potential for collective switching. This was again completed on behalf of Consumer Focus (now Consumer Futures).

In addition, we have carried out research for Artesia Consulting (a company helping to facilitate sustainable management of water resources) and Echo Managed Services, an organisation providing water management services to public and private sector bodies.

If you would like to see our most recent edition of Insights for this sector, detailing the latest research findings, please click here.

Please feel free to have a look at our utilities sector insights and research findings which can be found here: Utilities Research Findings or for automatic updates follow our Utilities Twitter account: @DJS_Utilities


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