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Energy Utility Suppliers - UK - November 2013

“For energy suppliers it is important to continue to compete for market share but there is also scope to continue to expand into related markets such as home maintenance, home security or telecommunications. Related energy markets such as installation or home generation (eg solar electricity, solar thermal, ground pumps) are also a good match with the capabilities of these companies.”

– Jane Westgarth – Senior Market Analyst

Some questions answered in this report include:

  • Are consumers interested in greener energy?
  • To what extent are energy price rises putting pressure on consumer spending?
  • Are consumers taking measures to change their energy habits at home?
  • What can energy companies do to grow share of the market?
  • Is competition improving things for consumers?

Gas and electricity supply was opened up to competition in the 1990s and today there are the ‘big six’ energy companies that dominate supply in the UK. These vertically integrated companies generate power but also buy energy on the wholesale market and sell it on via a supply subsidiary to customers. Governments and consumer groups have been critical about the industry, especially in recent years when prices for gas and electricity have risen much faster than inflation. Indeed, there is anger and lack of trust among consumers and the feeling that the big suppliers are employing unfair pricing tactics to make more money from them.

The regulator, Ofgem, has been granted new powers in 2013 to improve this situation yet consumers are faced with further price rises in 2013/14. Ofgem wants simpler and fairer tariffs and the government wants every home to have a smart meter which will give consumers more information about the amount and cost of energy they are using, helping them to make informed decisions about ways to save energy.

This report looks at energy utility suppliers and finds out what consumers think about their utility bills and the service they get from their suppliers.

This report covers home energy providers in the UK, including:

  • Electricity suppliers
  • Gas suppliers.
  • This report covers the residential market and so excludes business customers.

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Definitions
        • Abbreviations
        • Executive Summary

            • The market
              • Figure 1: Consumer spending on gas and electricity, 2008-18
              • Figure 2: Consumer spending on gas and electricity, UK, 2008-12
            • Market factors
              • Figure 3: Electricity and gas price changes, 2008-12
              • Figure 4: Domestic energy consumption by end use, 2012
            • Companies, brands and innovation
              • Figure 5: Leading energy supply companies, market share of domestic gas and electricity revenue, 2012
            • The consumer
              • Figure 6: Supplier of gas and/or electricity, September 2013
              • Figure 7: Change of gas supplier in the last 12 months, September 2013
              • Figure 8: Change of electricity supplier in the last 12 months, September 2013
            • Why they changed tariff
              • Figure 9: Reasons for changing tariff, September 2013
            • Why they changed supplier
              • Figure 10: Reasons for changing supplier, September 2013
            • What they think of price comparison websites
              • Figure 11: Opinions about price comparison and switching websites, September 2013
            • What they say about energy in the home
              • Figure 12: Attitudes towards energy in the home, September 2013
            • More than a third are anxious about their energy bills
              • Figure 13: Target groups, electricity and gas, September 2013
            • What we think
            • Issues in the Market

                • Are consumers interested in greener energy?
                  • To what extent are energy price rises putting pressure on consumer spending?
                    • Are consumers taking measures to change their energy habits at home?
                      • What can energy companies do to grow share of the market?
                        • Is competition improving things for consumers?
                        • Trend Application

                            • Trend: Lets Make a Deal
                              • Trend: Green and Lean
                                • Futures: Access anything anywhere
                                • Internal Market Environment

                                  • Key Points
                                    • Energy prices rise faster than personal disposable income
                                      • Figure 14: Electricity and gas price changes, 2008-12
                                    • Energy consumption has fallen
                                      • Figure 15: Average domestic energy consumption, 2008-12
                                    • How households use fuel
                                      • Figure 16: Domestic energy consumption by end use, 2012
                                    • Smart metering rolls out
                                      • Ofgem wants simpler, clearer and fairer tariffs
                                        • Regulation (Ofgem)
                                          • Obligation to use renewable sources
                                            • Fuel debt has reduced
                                              • Energy Savings Trust
                                                • Winter fuel allowances
                                                  • Background information on households and the economy
                                                  • Competitive Context

                                                    • Key points
                                                      • Price hikes pressurise consumers
                                                        • Figure 17: Household expenditure, selected categories, percentage of total domestic expenditure, 1997-2013
                                                      • Alternative sources
                                                        • Solar panel installations
                                                          • Figure 18: Number of solar installations to date, January 2012-September 2013
                                                        • Feed-in tariffs
                                                          • Green Deal slow to take off
                                                            • Improving energy efficiency in the home
                                                              • Figure 19: Proportion of homes with various energy saving measures, 2008 and 2013
                                                          • Strengths and Weaknesses

                                                            • Strengths
                                                              • Weaknesses
                                                              • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                • Key points
                                                                  • Regulator insists on simplification
                                                                    • Scottish Power tariff innovation
                                                                      • Ofgem Network Innovation
                                                                        • Collective Energy Deals
                                                                          • Free electricity on Saturdays?
                                                                            • Lifetime labelling
                                                                              • Figure 20: John Lewis trial label showing lifetime electricity cost, September 2013
                                                                            • E.ON trials electric cars in Milton Keynes
                                                                              • Contracts for smart meters
                                                                              • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                  • Consumer spend on gas and electricity
                                                                                    • Figure 21: Consumer spending on gas and electricity, UK, 2008-12
                                                                                  • Market forecasts
                                                                                    • Figure 22: Consumer spending on gas and electricity, 2008-18
                                                                                    • Figure 23: Consumer spending on gas and electricity, UK, 2008-2018
                                                                                  • Forecast methodology
                                                                                  • Companies and Products

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Six major suppliers
                                                                                        • Figure 24: Leading energy supply companies, market share of domestic gas and electricity revenue, 2012
                                                                                        • Figure 25: Leading energy supply companies, market share of domestic gas and electricity revenue, 2010 and 2012
                                                                                      • Revenue from domestic electricity
                                                                                        • Figure 26: Leading energy supply companies, market share of domestic electricity gross revenue, 2010 and 2012
                                                                                      • Revenue from domestic gas
                                                                                        • Figure 27: Leading energy supply companies, market share of domestic gas gross revenue, 2010 and 2012
                                                                                      • Energy utility companies
                                                                                        • E.ON
                                                                                          • EDF
                                                                                            • British Gas (Centrica)
                                                                                              • npower
                                                                                                • Scottish Power
                                                                                                  • SSE (Formerly Scottish and Southern Energy)
                                                                                                    • Other domestic energy suppliers
                                                                                                    • Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                        • Main media advertising
                                                                                                          • Figure 28: Main media advertising on electricity and gas, 2009-12
                                                                                                        • British Gas dominates advertising spend
                                                                                                          • Figure 29: Main media advertising on electricity and gas, share by company, 2012
                                                                                                        • How spend has changed over four years
                                                                                                          • Figure 30: Main media advertising, electricity and gas, by company, 2009-2012
                                                                                                        • Wide variety of media used for advertising
                                                                                                          • Figure 31: Main media advertising on electricity and gas, by media type, 2012
                                                                                                        • Ofgem’s stance on cashback to be clarified
                                                                                                        • Brand Research

                                                                                                          • Brand map
                                                                                                              • Figure 32: Attitudes towards and usage of brands in the energy utility suppliers sector, September 2013
                                                                                                            • Correspondence analysis
                                                                                                              • Brand attitudes
                                                                                                                • Figure 33: Attitudes, by energy utility suppliers brand, September 2013
                                                                                                              • Brand personality
                                                                                                                • Figure 34: Energy utility suppliers brand personality – macro image, September 2013
                                                                                                                • Figure 35: Energy utility suppliers brand personality – micro image, September 2013
                                                                                                              • Brand experience
                                                                                                                • Figure 36: Energy utility suppliers brand usage, September 2013
                                                                                                                • Figure 37: Satisfaction with various energy utility suppliers brands, September 2013
                                                                                                                • Figure 38: Consideration of energy utility suppliers brands, September 2013
                                                                                                                • Figure 39: Consumer perceptions of current energy utility suppliers brand performance, September 2013
                                                                                                              • Brand index
                                                                                                                • Figure 40: Energy utility suppliers brand index, September 2013
                                                                                                              • Target group analysis
                                                                                                                • Figure 41: Target groups, September 2013
                                                                                                                • Figure 42: Energy utility suppliers brand usage, by target groups, September 2013
                                                                                                              • Group One – Conformists
                                                                                                                • Group Two – Simply the Best
                                                                                                                  • Group Three – Shelf Stalkers
                                                                                                                    • Group Four – Habitual Shoppers
                                                                                                                      • Group Five – Individualists
                                                                                                                      • The Consumer – Suppliers of Gas and Electricity

                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                          • Who supplies their electricity and gas?
                                                                                                                            • Figure 43: Supplier of gas and/or electricity, September 2013
                                                                                                                          • Suppliers for gas or electricity
                                                                                                                            • British Gas named by 29% as gas supplier
                                                                                                                              • Figure 44: Supplier of gas, September 2013
                                                                                                                              • Figure 45: Supplier of electricity, September 2013
                                                                                                                            • How people have changed suppliers or tariffs
                                                                                                                              • Who has changed gas supplier?
                                                                                                                                • Figure 46: Change of gas supplier in the last 12 months, September 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 47: Change of gas supplier in the last 12 months, by age, September 2013
                                                                                                                              • Who has changed electricity supplier?
                                                                                                                                • Figure 48: Change of electricity supplier in the last 12 months, September 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 49: Change of electricity supplier in the last 12 months, by age, September 2013
                                                                                                                              • Who supplies the people who have changed?
                                                                                                                                • Figure 50: Supplier of gas, by people who changed gas supplier in the last 12 months, September 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 51: Supplier of electricity, by people who changed electricity supplier in the last 12 months, September 2013
                                                                                                                            • The Consumer – Reasons for Changing

                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                • Reasons for changing tariff or supplier
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 52: Reasons for changing tariff, September 2013
                                                                                                                                • Reasons for changing supplier
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 53: Reasons for changing supplier, September 2013
                                                                                                                              • The Consumer – Opinions about Price Comparison and Switching Websites

                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                  • Opinions about price comparison and switching websites
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 54: Opinions about price comparison and switching websites, September 2013
                                                                                                                                • The Consumer – Attitudes towards Using Energy in the Home

                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                    • Attitudes towards using energy in the home
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 55: attitudes towards energy in the home, September 2013
                                                                                                                                    • Concern about pressure selling
                                                                                                                                      • Confusion over the bills
                                                                                                                                        • Keeping an eye on the tariff
                                                                                                                                          • Young people worry about keeping track
                                                                                                                                            • Worry about being able to pay
                                                                                                                                              • Target groups
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 56: Target groups, electricity and gas, September 2013
                                                                                                                                              • Energy Evaders (39%)
                                                                                                                                                • Who are they?
                                                                                                                                                  • Which suppliers do they use?
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 57: Energy suppliers, Energy Evaders, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                  • Reasons for changing tariff
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 58: Reasons for changing tariff, Energy Evaders, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 59: Reasons for changing supplier, Energy Evaders, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 60: Opinions about price comparison/switching websites, Energy Evaders, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                  • Energy Anxious (37%)
                                                                                                                                                    • Who are they?
                                                                                                                                                      • Which suppliers do they use?
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 61: Energy suppliers, Energy Anxious, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                      • Reasons for changing tariff
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 62: Reasons for changing tariff, Energy Anxious, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 63: Reasons for changing supplier, Energy Anxious, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 64: Opinions about price comparison/switching websites, Energy Anxious, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                      • Tariff Checkers (24%)
                                                                                                                                                        • Who are they?
                                                                                                                                                          • Which suppliers do they use?
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 65: Energy suppliers, Tariff Checkers, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                          • Reasons for changing tariff
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 66: Reasons for changing tariff, Tariff Checkers, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 67: Reasons for changing supplier, Tariff Checkers, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 68: Opinions about price comparison/switching websites, Tariff Checkers, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Market Environment

                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 69: GDP, PDI, consumer expenditure and savings, at current prices, 2007-17
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 70: UK households, by size, 2008-18
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 71: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2008-18
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 72: UK residential property transactions, 2008-12
                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Brand Research

                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 73: Brand usage, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 74: Brand commitment, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 75: Brand momentum, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 76: Brand diversity, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 77: Brand satisfaction, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 78: Brand attitude, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 79: Brand image – macro image, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 80: Brand image – micro image, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 81: Profile of target groups, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 82: Psychographic segmentation, by target groups, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 83: Brand usage, by target groups, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                          • Brand index
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 84: Brand index, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – The Consumer – Gas and Electricity

                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 85: Most popular supplier of gas and electricity, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 86: Next most popular supplier of gas and electricity, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 87: Most popular supplier of gas, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 88: Next most popular supplier of gas, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 89: Most popular supplier of electricity, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 90: Next most popular supplier of electricity, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – The Consumer – Changes of Gas or Electricity Supplier

                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 91: Change of gas or electricity supplier in the last 12 months, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 92: Change of gas supplier in the last 12 months, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 93: Change of electricity supplier in the last 12 months, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – The Consumer – Reasons for Changing Tariff

                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 94: Reasons for changing tariff, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – The Consumer – Reasons for Changing Supplier

                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 95: Most popular reasons for changing supplier, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 96: Next most popular reasons for changing supplier, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – The Consumer – Opinions about Price Comparison and Switching Websites

                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 97: Most popular opinions about price comparison and switching websites, by demographics, September°2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 98: Next most popular opinions about price comparison and switching websites, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – The Consumer – Attitudes towards Using Energy in the Home

                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 99: Agreement with the statement ‘It’s important to me to make my home as energy efficient as possible’, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 100: Agreement with the statement ‘I worry that if an energy advisor visited my home they might be trying to sell me things i don’t need’, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 101: Agreement with the statement ‘Wasting energy in the home is a big concern for me’, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 102: Agreement with the statement ‘It’s important to me to regularly check that I’m on the best tariff’, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 103: Agreement with the statement ‘Energy bills are confusing’, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 104: Agreement with the statement’ It’s difficult to keep track of how much your energy bills are likely to be’, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 105: Agreement with the statement ‘I worry that it would be too expensive to make my home more energy efficient’, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 106: Agreement with the statement ‘I worry that i won’t be able to afford to pay my energy bills’, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 107: Agreement with the statement ‘I worry that I’m not on the best tariff for my energy bills’, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 108: Agreement with the statement ‘I’m concerned that using too much energy will harm the environment’, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 109: Agreement with the statement ‘I believe it’s up to the government to worry about the environment’, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 110: Agreement with the statement ‘It’s worth paying a little more for ‘greener’ energy’, by demographics, September 2013
                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Cluster Groups

                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 111: Target groups, by demographics, September 2013

                                                                                                                                                        Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                        To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                                                                                                        Energy Utility Suppliers - UK - November 2013

                                                                                                                                                        £1,995.00 (Excl.Tax)