PwC asks: Beyond price, what are Australian businesses looking for from their energy retailer?

PwC Survey of large organisations

In the first initiative of its kind, ERM Power commissioned PwC to survey over 160 commercial and industrial organisations to identify the attributes they value the most in their energy retailer. They found that while price is important, there are other factors that matter significantly and that shape customer choice when it comes to contracting business energy.

Here’s what else the research revealed:

  • Almost 20% of customers experienced moderate or significant issues with their current electricity retailer
  • 93% of these customers spend up to a day each month resolving issues, meaning resources are diluted and less time is spent working on business-critical issues
  • 80% agree that accurate and timely processes from their electricity retailer generate operational efficiency
  • 65% experienced issues during the onboarding process that cost them half a day or more trying to resolve them
  • 43% described the billing performance of their retailer as “below their expectations”

ERM Power Executive General Manager Energy Retail Steve Rogers says these figures would appear to explain another reason why 41% of respondents end up leaving their energy retailer for reasons other than price.

“After all, the true business cost of poor service is not included in the contract price. In fact, PwC was able to take the findings a step further and calculate a dollar value for top level service: larger businesses with multiple sites and an annual energy spend between $250K and $3M indicated that a top-level service is worth $1-$3/MWh,” he said.

“That’s something to think about when you’re next comparing contract prices and looking at the overall costs of energy.”

So, what exactly does great service look like?

Key values described by large business energy users surveyed found that outside of price, billing performance is the most important factor when selecting a retailer. Great customer service comes next, followed by a good onboarding process and site roll-in/roll-out process, portal access and flexible terms and conditions.

“Having been number one in customer satisfaction for the past eight years running*, and with 99.99% billing accuracy, we know ERM Power has what it takes when it comes to delivering great service,” Steve says.

“Providing outstanding service starts with truly understanding what customers value, and we pride ourselves on being the best at that too. We think a lot about what drives customer satisfaction and we understand that business owners and managers want to get on with running their business, not worrying about energy.”

With 80% of businesses saying that reliable and timely processes from retailers generate operational efficiencies for them, we are confident our service offering helps to deliver this for our customers. Whether through our accurate billing, dedicated account management, seamless onboarding or providing access to energy data through market-leading technology, we’re committed to providing operational efficiency to our customers as standard.


To find out more about how ERM Power creates business efficiency through superior customer service, talk to your account manager, broker or energy consultant, otherwise get in touch with us.


This research was commission on behalf of ERM Power and conducted in May 2019. The insights were based on a random sample of 163 Commercial and Industrial customers on the Australian National Electricity Market and may not necessarily apply to all business customer situations. The estimated willingness to pay represent additional price respondents were willing to pay to go from an average market offering to the highest service level available in the market. Ranges were informed by qualitative research with business stakeholders and intermediaries (energy brokers, consultants etc.).

* Utility Market Intelligence (UMI) survey of large customers of major electricity retailers by independent research company NTF Group in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.