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Suppliers should harness the potential of social media websites to win customer support for the energy investment coming down the line, says Nicholas Chrysanthou

The relationship between utilities and their customers is set to radically change over the next few decades as the energy sector transforms itself into the engine of the low-carbon economy.

Today, that relationship can best be described as top down, both in terms of products that are delivered by utilities to households, and customer service, where meters are read and bills are posted or emailed. This one-way relationship, in which the customer has little say, is part of the reason why utilities have a poor reputation among the public. The lack of trust is fuelled by regular media reports on issues such as pricing levels, mis-selling, overly aggressive sales tactics and profiteering.

With such perceptions in play, clearly something needs to change. But with changes to the entire energy infrastructure on the horizon, many of which will require capital investment and could result in higher energy bills, utilities will need stakeholder buy-in.

This article was written by Nicholas Chrysanthou, energy consultant analyst at Alva and released in full on Utility Week.

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