The new research is in a paper entitled “Pricing behaviour under competition in the UK electricity supply industry” to be delivered at the Royal Economic Society Annual Conference at the University of Warwick on Thursday 12th April. The researchers looked at prices offered by each of the 6-18 firms active in the domestic electricity market from February 1999 to December 2006. The data was obtained from the Consumer’s Association, OFGEM and Energywatch.
The researchers noted that there were a number of factors in that period that would lead one to expect that customers would benefit from low prices and that there would be low differentials in prices between companies:
- Increased use of the internet by customers to provide price comparisons
- Increased competition between suppliers. In particular new suppliers entering the market place and attempting to take market share by offering prices well below the incumbent suppliers
- Easy mechanisms allowing switching between suppliers.
Surprisingly the researchers found that incumbent suppliers’ electricity prices were much more resistant to change and remained at higher levels than expected. These high incumbent prices also appeared to make it worthwhile for new suppliers entering the market to quote, and do business at, prices that were significantly noncompetitive.
The researchers also found that over the period of study retail electricity prices overall did not fall to the extent of price falls in wholesale prices over the period since a market has developed (OFGEM, 2003).
The researchers further found that if anything the variation in prices being offered between one supplier and another increased over the period of study. High energy users paying by direct debit saw the range of price offerings by non-incumbent suppliers increasing to 30% of the bill, for example. Low energy users paying by direct debit saw an even larger range, up to 35%.
In examining what factors could have produced these surprising results Professor Waterson from the University of Warwick said: “This confirms past studies which have shown that some consumers remain reluctant to switch, even in the face of substantial financial benefits. Incumbent electricity suppliers can therefore charge a premium over new suppliers without losing all of their custom. Moreover, it is important to be careful in choosing an alternative supplier, because it is perfectly possible to switch and yet be worse off, if you choose at random.”
The research team also noted that while fast and increased internet access brings with it the possibility that a large proportion of consumers might avail themselves of the opportunity to compare prices on line and switch to another company there is little evidence that this is a sufficiently widespread practice to have a large effect. Past studies show that although the proportion of searchers using the internet specifically for this purpose has increased, it is still a minority method of gaining information on electricity price offers compared, for example, with information gathered from a representative who calls at the consumer’s home (according to an OFGEM report from 2004).
Peter Dunn | alfa
Microtechnology industry is hiring – positive developments of past years continue
09.04.2018 | IVAM Fachverband für Mikrotechnik
RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index with minor decline on a high overall level
20.03.2018 | RWI – Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering
24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy