03/13/2012, Berlin

BDEW 2011 Customer Focus on Households

Customer behaviour strengthens competition

Survey shows considerably higher switching rate than the year before / Consumers continue to appreciate security of electricity supply

A growing number of household customers make use of the possibility of changing their electricity supplier. As compared to 2010, the switching rate in the previous year rose by more than four percentage points and cumulatively totals approximately 26 percent at the present time. This rate increased in the gas sector as well: Currently, it amounts to somewhat more than 14 percent. This is the result of the BDEW 2011 Customer Focus, a representative customer survey of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft – BDEW) carried out by the market research institute "promit".

"The survey impressively shows that a growing number of customers knows how to use the various offers of the energy market and thus strengthen competition in Germany", Hildegard Müller, Chairwoman of BDEW’s General Executive Management said. According to the BDEW, the German household customers can currently choose among 102 electricity suppliers and 37 gas suppliers, on average. About 1,100 electricity suppliers and more than 800 gas suppliers existed in Germany at the present time.

Furthermore, it was encouraging to see that in times of energy transition consumers have large confidence in their suppliers, Müller underlined. According to the results of the survey, almost 70 percent of the persons interviewed trust their energy utility. 90 percent are satisfied or extremely satisfied with the security and reliability of their electricity supplier, while this percentage totals 87 for gas suppliers. Almost 45 percent of the interviewed customers said that their energy supplier supported the development of renewable energies (2010: 38 percent).

A further result of the survey was that less than one fifth of household customers are unsatisfied with the price to performance ratio of their electricity supplier. 40 percent consider it to be reasonable, 37 percent even to be good or very good. "Energy utilities in Germany offer different tariffs adjusted to the specific needs and requirements of certain customer groups. The BDEW advises customers to inform themselves about suitable individual offers of their supplier", Müller said.


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