Residential retail assessment

Our key findings and assessment for extending retail competition to residential customers.

Residential retail analysis

Our cost benefits analysis of a residential retail market.

Residential retail success

Identifying and reducing the risks to build a successful market.

Residential retail lessons

Learning from other retail markets.

Residential retail timeline

The history and background of the review and changing markets.

Residential retail customer research and feedback

In conducting our review, we wanted to hear what customers think and to be guided by what they told us they want.

To help us do this, we commissioned formal customer research, carried out local and national media activities, promoted discussion through social media and on leading discussion forums, such as the Money Saving Expert forum.

To see what customers told us, just click on the image below.

Extending competition for residential retail customers What do people think?

Getting views from all customers

We commissioned research from Accent to help understand customer preferences and concerns. The research included three phases.

Firstly, discussion groups with water customers, including with ‘early adopters’ of household technology, and interviews with customers in vulnerable circumstances such as long term health problems or disability, or financial stress. The objectives of this phase were:

  • to explore customers’ views on switching household service providers and provide understanding of motivations and barriers
  • to assess response to a competitive water market and associated benefits and disadvantages to individual households
  • to understand response to a number of different competitive models

The second phase was online and telephone surveys of customers including some targeted specifically at low income and older customers. This aimed to quantify some of the key findings from the group discussions. The objectives of this phase were to:

  • quantify the switching behaviour identified in the initial qualitative phase
  • quantify attitudes to the idea of a competitive market in water for residential customers
  • understand the features of a competitive market in water that are of most importance to residential customers
  • understand the relative appeal of the various potential benefits of choice in water
  • understand the potential for innovation to drive choice in a low margin market

The final phase was an online discussion forum with some of the previous focus group and interview participants. The objective of this phase was to take some of the emerging findings from the research and other sources and test them further, and in addition to explore some additional issues which had emerged as important during the study period.

Read the full methodology and findings in Customer Response to Competition in the Residential Water Market, Accent, July 2016

We also considered complementary research by the Consumer Council for Water which explores how much customers expect to save in a competitive market.

To ensure we took the views from as many customers and customer groups as possible we also: