Portuguese attitudes to energy

Associação Portuguesa da Energia, the Portuguese WEC member committee, has just released its report, “Energy in Portugal: Perspective of those who use it”.

Portugal consumer report 2014 pic1

The work, carried out with the consultant Accenture, aims to understand and review the behaviour of energy consumers and identify the perceptions of individuals and businesses regarding the sector. The study, now published in its third edition, aims to help improve relations between suppliers and consumers by uncovering the needs and expectations of both parties.

The latest WEC Portugal study shows that the overwhelming majority of consumers (> 91%) is aware of the liberalisation of the electricity and natural gas markets and that it is possible to switch suppliers.

Consumers change suppliers mainly due to price, with 69% of those surveyed indicating price as one of the top 3 reasons to change. The ease of the change process was another important factor, while most consumers (75%) have switched suppliers as a result of direct contact by the energy companies.

One of the conclusions in the study is that more than half of the respondents – both private consumers and businesses – have a high degree of satisfaction with the services rendered by their electricity and natural gas suppliers.

Similarly, for companies the price factor is constantly referred to as the main driverof their energy decisions even though the cost of energy represents less than 10% of their total costs in around 60% of companies surveyed.

Another important conclusion of the report is that, despite the communication and information dissemination that have been developed by a number of market players, only half of respondents know of the existence of consumer tariff support schemes for natural gas and electricity.

Regarding fuel choice, while a significant proportion of consumers (42%) considers unbranded fuels of inferior quality, nearly half (48%) of them usually obtain their supplies there.

By contrast, only about 7% of companies source their supplies from unbranded stations.Portugal consumer report 2014 pic2

While many individuals recognise  the benefits of renewable energy, most are not willing to pay more for electricity from renewable sources. As for electric and hybrid vehicles, their high purchase price remains the main factor for them not being adopted (81% indicates as one of the top 3 reasons).

The report also looks at energy efficiency. While most private consumers (82%) always or sometimes consider energy labelling important when acquiring an appliance,  only 36% put value household energy certification.  In the business sector, a majority of companies have implemented energy efficiency measures, and the lack of investment has been main reason for non-implementation (41%).

The WEC Portugal study is based on surveys carried out between November 2013 and January 2014 with 400 companies and 1994 individuals in mainland Portugal. Data collection was carried out by the Institute for Marketing Research (IMR) at the request of Associação Portuguesa da Energia. The analysis of data collected and the systematization of the findings was carried out by the consultant Accenture.