FT Energy Reports: UK Utilities Could Do More With E-Commerce

Apr 04, 2001, 01:00 ET from FT Energy

    LONDON, April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Most electricity and gas suppliers in the
 UK have yet to take full advantage of e-commerce, although utilities are
 likely to join other "traditional" industries in the next wave of e-business
 development.
     There is much debate in the industry about the value of e-commerce for
 utility customers, but experience from other industries (such as financial
 services) shows that both business and residential customers value the ability
 to perform certain transactions online.
     European Utility Retail, a new monthly publication from FT Energy, visited
 the Web sites of 17 of the UK's leading energy suppliers to assess their
 effectiveness at reaching customers.  Most offered a few very basic services
 to residential customers, allowing them, for example, to submit a meter
 reading online.  Business customers were almost completely neglected.  In
 their present state, utility web sites function as little more than online
 phone directories, giving businesses the numbers to call for actual service.
     While sixteen of the surveyed sites do offer products to business
 customers, only four provide even basic tariff information.  Some allow small
 and medium businesses to compare their rates online with those of their
 competing utilities, but even then the sites don't always offer comparisons
 with all competitors.  Although some offer online quotations for business
 customers, almost half offer nothing at all, perhaps assuming that business
 customers would prefer to negotiate rates in person or by telephone.
     E-commerce may be more developed for the residential market, but there is
 still a yawning gap among energy companies.  Only four can accept bill
 payments by ATM/debit card online, and three sites don't even offer a way to
 sign up new customers online.  Most suppliers invite prospective residential
 customers to see how much they can save by switching energy providers, but
 less than half offer a genuine comparison with all of the major rivals.
 
     Read More in European Utility Retail -- Free Trial Available
     For a limited period, anyone interested in finding out more about European
 Utility Retail are invited to visit www.ftenergy.com/eur/freecopy and download
 a PDF version of European Utility Retail free of charge.  Just visit the Web
 site for details on how to take advantage of this offer and how to subscribe.
     Launched by FT Energy, the world's leading provider of unbiased energy
 information, European Utility Retail helps decision-makers develop strategies
 and stay on top of the latest market developments.
     Available monthly on the Internet and through e-mail delivery, this
 publication looks at how energy companies attract and acquire new customers,
 as well as how they retain and cross-market to existing customers.
 
     Contact: Paul Whitehead of FT Energy on +44(0)-20-7896-2250 for further
 information.
 
 

SOURCE FT Energy
    LONDON, April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Most electricity and gas suppliers in the
 UK have yet to take full advantage of e-commerce, although utilities are
 likely to join other "traditional" industries in the next wave of e-business
 development.
     There is much debate in the industry about the value of e-commerce for
 utility customers, but experience from other industries (such as financial
 services) shows that both business and residential customers value the ability
 to perform certain transactions online.
     European Utility Retail, a new monthly publication from FT Energy, visited
 the Web sites of 17 of the UK's leading energy suppliers to assess their
 effectiveness at reaching customers.  Most offered a few very basic services
 to residential customers, allowing them, for example, to submit a meter
 reading online.  Business customers were almost completely neglected.  In
 their present state, utility web sites function as little more than online
 phone directories, giving businesses the numbers to call for actual service.
     While sixteen of the surveyed sites do offer products to business
 customers, only four provide even basic tariff information.  Some allow small
 and medium businesses to compare their rates online with those of their
 competing utilities, but even then the sites don't always offer comparisons
 with all competitors.  Although some offer online quotations for business
 customers, almost half offer nothing at all, perhaps assuming that business
 customers would prefer to negotiate rates in person or by telephone.
     E-commerce may be more developed for the residential market, but there is
 still a yawning gap among energy companies.  Only four can accept bill
 payments by ATM/debit card online, and three sites don't even offer a way to
 sign up new customers online.  Most suppliers invite prospective residential
 customers to see how much they can save by switching energy providers, but
 less than half offer a genuine comparison with all of the major rivals.
 
     Read More in European Utility Retail -- Free Trial Available
     For a limited period, anyone interested in finding out more about European
 Utility Retail are invited to visit www.ftenergy.com/eur/freecopy and download
 a PDF version of European Utility Retail free of charge.  Just visit the Web
 site for details on how to take advantage of this offer and how to subscribe.
     Launched by FT Energy, the world's leading provider of unbiased energy
 information, European Utility Retail helps decision-makers develop strategies
 and stay on top of the latest market developments.
     Available monthly on the Internet and through e-mail delivery, this
 publication looks at how energy companies attract and acquire new customers,
 as well as how they retain and cross-market to existing customers.
 
     Contact: Paul Whitehead of FT Energy on +44(0)-20-7896-2250 for further
 information.
 
 SOURCE  FT Energy