In September we undertook a customer survey, carried out on our behalf by Island Global Research (IGR). IGR asked questions about our smart metering programme, which is due to start in summer 2021, and its proposed benefits. The survey also enquired about attitudes towards energy consumption and its contribution towards climate change, as well as customers’ wider views on Manx Utilities.
We would like to thank everyone that took the time to participate in the survey: a total of 1,090 residents responded. The main communications activity for the roll-out hadn't yet commenced, so the results were a benchmark; another survey will be conducted at a later date to test how effective customer engagement has been and whether or not attitudes have changed during that time. At the time of asking, around half of those who took part were aware of the smart metering programme, although only one in ten people believed they know a lot about it.
At the time of the survey, there existed little knowledge of the benefits that the programme proposed to bring about, so building better recognition and understanding of benefits is something that has been built into our customer communication plan.
The most widely acknowledged and accepted benefit was improving the understanding of energy consumption, while the major concern, expressed by more than half of respondents, was that the cost of the programme would lead to an increase in the price of electricity as a direct consequence. There were a number of other concerns expressed in the survey including relationships with vulnerable customers, and the role that we, Manx Utilities, are to play in the climate change mitigation effort. The process of recognising and addressing all these concerns, and reassuring customers, is firmly embedded in our engagement strategy.
56% of respondents were ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ interested in the smart metering programme and its objectives
64% of PAYG (pay as you go) customers and 40% of billed customers believed it would lead to positive changes
37% of people believed that the programme would benefit customers and 38% thought it would lead to drawbacks
54% were concerned that the programme would lead to a rise in the cost of electricity
62% thought the smart metering programme would improve understanding of customers and their electricity consumption habits, but only 37% thought it would reduce energy use/emissions or would benefit customers
71% of respondents were conscious of their carbon footprint
63% of people were ‘very’ or ‘moderately’ concerned about the environmental impact of the energy they use at home
88% of respondents also commented it is important that Manx Utilities helps the Isle of Man to reduce carbon emissions
72% were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the customer service they received the last time they contacted us
52% ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that they felt generally positive towards Manx Utilities
70% rated our reliability as ‘good’ or ‘very good’