VaasaEmg, a Finnish university-based research centre specialising in electricity, gas and related utilities marketing to end customers, and Peace Software, a CIS software developer, have released the Utility Customer Switching Research Project findings in the Netherlands and Belgium. The report, which analyses utility customer switch rates and trends, reveals that the Netherlands is fast becoming the latest battleground for competition between European utility giants, and will be a hot spot for utility customer switching activity in 2006-2007.

The Netherlands and Belgium are ranked second and fifth most active European energy retailers as far as customer switching is concerned. The report notes that electricity customer switching in the Netherlands accelerated rapidly in 2002 and 2003, and has continued in the range of 7-15% per year since then. Gas customer switching lagged behind at the start, but has not reached electricity switching levels.

And although Belgium has a reputation for low retail energy activity, the report’s findings are that customer switching peaks reached 10% in 2004.