Off Peak

Fortnightly Magazine - March 15 1997
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N.H. Discovers What Residents Really Want (em And Don't

Recharge the Economy with Renewable Energy Tax Credits

While electricity consumers are interested in lower bills, they're unlikely to change suppliers even though they could save money.

That's one of the seemingly conflicting results of a survey of 400 people who participated in the New Hampshire electric pilot program. The program, started in late May 1996, targeted 17,000 customers, and still is under way.

The survey showed that price is far and away the single most important factor in a consumer's choice to switch to a new electric supplier, with 71 percent saying so (see figure 1). Although respondents were solicited by as many as 10 power suppliers, advertising didn't appear to affect their decisions. In fact, many consumers found the advertising unfair or deceptive (see figure 4).

Consumers also noted that "reputation marketing" wasn't that important. About 20 percent said the environmental element in their power supply was important, but for 54 percent, "green power" wasn't a factor. Many respondents said there ought to be standards so that customers could compare programs.

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