Investigating how customer relationships influence the development of demand response for the future electricity retail market.
Carl-Wilhelm Jakobsson Thorman and Tommy Kovala, Industrial economics and organization, Mälardalens högskola.
Supervisor at Vattenfall: Anders Bohlin.
The fact that household customers are central in the discussion of future sustainable energy systems compels the Swedish electricity retail companies to provide strategies in order to successfully follow the trends on the electricity market. The purpose of this thesis is to complement the electricity retail companies’ understanding of how they are able to enter a sustainable and close business relationship with these customers. The purpose is fulfilled by the analysis of how relationship concepts impact the development of demand response specifically. The information has been collected through a case study of Smart Customer Gotland, via interviews with people who have great experience from the field and via a survey directed towards the customers.
The results indicate that there is a major difference in both of the actors’ visions regarding the relationship. The company desires to enter a position where less support and high customization is available. Customers instead want more personal support because of their lack of knowledge and uncertainty of new systems. To succeed, the companies have to consider the fundamental influencing incentives, economy and comfort, while also maintaining the customers’ trust.
The most essential parts of the context specific relationship exchange are product exchange, information exchange, and social exchange. These should be directed towards maintaining and increasing the trust from customers. Focusing the resources earlier used for marketing, on these exchanges to make the current customers more satisfied will open up for using word-of mouth primarily from early adopters. Continued work with these early adopters will also increase companies’ knowledge, which is important for the companies to strategically develop its business towards the market of smart energy solutions.