DEFG

US management consulting firm Distributed Energy Financial Group (DEFG) last week issued a report analyzing utility customers services on prepayment.According to DEFG, the report focus on understanding the preferences, needs and requirements of older Americans in a voluntary prepaid energy option offered by their utility.

The study, “Not So Fast:  Prepay Energy and Seniors (55+) in the Utility Sector,” DEFG and its Prepay Energy Working Group surveyed 600 seniors ranging from 55 years and older across the United States.

The report's findings highlight that interest in prepaid energy is fairly low among older Americans compared to the millennial generation, immigrants and property managers.

It stipulates that use of any prepay option such as gift cards results in high satisfaction, which results in higher interest in other prepay options, including prepay energy.

Wimberly continued “As all our research shows, a voluntary prepay energy option is not for everyone.

This seems to be particularly true for older Americans (55+) since many of them are really not that concerned about paying their utility bills and have very established ways of interacting with their utility.”

Jamie Wimberly, CEO of DEFG said: “The differences in preferences and needs between millennials and older Americans are large enough to posit the need for almost two generational service models. Yet, for now, utilities are trying to use the ‘old folks’ model for everyone. There is a need to move to a differentiated, segment service model to support applications such as prepay energy on a going forward basis.”

DEFG findings:

  • Older Americans are much less likely to have ever used any form of prepay than the generations after them. This survey recorded that 54 percent of older adults have used a prepay option as compared to 69 percent of other generations (18-54)
  • In fact, interest in prepay energy by older Americans (15 percent) is almost a third of the interest level of other Americans (40 percent).
  • Email is an important means of notification of older Americans, and half prefer notification by more than one channel. Like the finding above, there are significant differences on channel preferences depending on your age. 55-59 years olds are much more likely to prefer text messaging.