Survey says retail electric competition tough on distributors

Retail electric competition works, but it presents a tough market for distributors and ESCOs, according to a survey of 1,000 commercial and industrial customers in the United Kingdom. The survey was conducted by AXS Marketing L.L.C., Syracuse, N.Y., and KWM Ltd., of the United Kingdom, where the retail electricity market has been open to competition since 1990. The survey showed the lowest price per kilowatt-hour is by far the top factor customers use to select a supplier, and that they reject the cost of value-added services such as equipment maintenance. Utilities in the U.S. and Canada can expect to lose significant market share immediately in markets where full retail competition is allowed, an AXS spokesman said.

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