Electricity Restructuring and Value- Added Services: Beyond the Hype

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This paper presents the results of a series of interviews that were conducted with nonresidential electricity service customers who have chosen to take service from a retail electric service provider (RESP). The interviews explored customer attitudes towards and experiences with the process of purchasing electricity and, in some cases, value-added services in the competitive market. Key findings include: (1) our sample of large commercial/industrial customers believe that they are benefiting significantly more from commodity savings arising from direct access than from the value-added services that they are receiving; (2) there is high customer interest in billing, energy information, and energy efficiency services, as well as some (lesser) interest in "newer" services, such as facility management and outsourcing (although customers remain uncertain of the value of these services); (3) there is no established preference among the majority of customers with respect to choice of suppliers (RESP, utility or other) for value-added services, although there are limited preferences for the RESP to provide billing, energy information and green power, and for a third party provider to deliver energy efficiency.

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