Electricity North West, which is responsible for getting electricity to homes and businesses across the north west, is carrying out a programme of customer research to ensure its next business plan delivers the innovation, reliability and value for money consumers want.
Electricity North West is already planning a range of events and targeted meetings with individual stakeholders and priority groups to better understand people’s perspectives on the power they consume, and how their needs are likely to change as the UK is expected to undergo an energy revolution, driven by electric vehicles and the need to decarbonise.
Now it has appointed research agency, Accent, to undertake a detailed segmentation of consumers across the north west, and detailed willingness-to-pay research to find out where customers think investment should be made.
It has also appointed Explain Market Research to carry out general research with customers, using everything from focus groups and community forums to an open online community where hundreds of consumers from across the region can discuss how they use electricity and how they think that will change over the coming eight years.
Jonny Morgan, external communications manager at Electricity North West said: “The way we all use electricity is changing already, with the uptake of electric vehicles and rising demand for renewable generation and storage.
“That’s why, as we plan how we’re going to adapt to that, we’re launching our biggest conversation yet with consumers and businesses to find out exactly how they feel we should spend the money they give us through electricity bills.
“Only by doing that can we continue to lead the way in key areas like reaching net zero, while ensuring that the north west remains one of the most reliable networks in the world.”
Matt Evans, research director at Accent said: “The North West is a hugely diverse region and includes both the UK’s third largest city and one of its most beautiful national parks.
“Knowing exactly who those different communities are, how they use electricity, and what they’re willing to pay for in the future is crucial to developing and delivering the service Electricity North West provides.”
Kim Davis, managing director at Explain, said: “The decisions Electricity North West faces in the next 12 months will have a bearing on everybody who lives, works and travels in the region. They are also hugely complex, taking in issues of sustainability, affordability and reliability.
“Knowing precisely what people’s attitudes are towards those issues, and where their priorities lie, will help ensure those decisions are based on solid evidence and insights.”
As well as research, Electricity North West has also appointed Manchester-based Citypress to help reach customers through social media and public relations and DevoConnect to support on public affairs.
Regulator Ofgem requires all electricity network operators to submit a full business plan for the period 2023-2028 under what is known as the RIIO-ED2 price control process, which must be based on rigorous customer and stakeholder engagement.
Anybody interested in taking part in the consultation can visit www.pluggingin.co.uk.