Customers at the centre

The Customers at the Centre project was designed to provide the insight and data Ausgrid needs to fully understand and measure the customer perspective. This customer perspective will inform Ausgrid’s broader business decisions while also being incorporated into its 2019-2024 Regulatory Submission and the Tariff Structure Statement (TSS). It also will help ensure that Ausgrid’s proposed service levels and pricing structures meet customer expectations. Recent research generated from the project can be found below:


Phase 1 - Focus Groups

Group discussions with a wide range of customer and stakeholder groups took place in Sydney CBD, Hurstville, Parramatta, Gosford, Newcastle and Singleton. The main objectives of this independent research were to explore and understand customer expectations and preferences and seek their feedback in relation to:

1. Knowledge, interest and attitudes towards electricity;
2. Knowledge and perceptions of Ausgrid;
3. Expectations and preferences for Ausgrid to become a customer-centric distribution company;
4. How Ausgrid can meet customer expectations at specific service touchpoints;
5. A series of initial regulatory proposal concepts; and
6. Communication and engagement preferences.


Phase 2 - Deliberative Forums

Deliberative Forums were held in Newcastle and Sydney on 14-15 June. The main objectives of the deliberative forums were to:

1. Identify customers’ awareness of and expectations about Ausgrid’s long-term focus;
2. Understand customers’ long-term needs and expectations;
3. Educate customers about Ausgrid’s role, its current challenges, and plans, e.g. the move towards cost reflective pricing; 
4. Explore customers’ overarching attitudes to cost reflective pricing and tariff reform;
5. Understand customer attitudes towards changing the fixed vs usage proportions of the network component of their bills;
6. Deliberate on several different options for managing peaks in network demand.


Phases 3 and 4 - Quantitative Survey and Advanced Analytics 

Building on the insights gained in Phase 1 and Phase 2, an online survey with a representative sample of 2,362 Ausgrid customers including business, residential and 'vulnerable customers' was carried out between 18 August to 5 September 2017.

The main objectives of this research phase was to understand:

1. Attitudes to electricity and community concerns
2. Awareness, knowledge and perceptions of Ausgrid
3. The perception of Ausgrid’s service performance in key areas, e.g. reliable supply, restoring power after storm blackouts, tree trimming, street light maintenance
4. Ausgrid’s role and performance in providing relevant information and advice to customers
5. Attitudes and preferences to potential tariff options proposed by Ausgrid
6. Long-term customer interests and perceived fairness of pricing structure options
7. Attitudes towards solar and new technologies, including barriers to their uptake
8. Expectations around Ausgrid's long-term plans, with a focus on the 2019-2024 Regulatory Reset and Tariff Structure Statement (TSS).


Life Support Customer Survey results

Ausgrid recently conducted a survey of Life Support Customers to understand communication preferences during interruptions to power supply. Over 1,600 customers shared their experience and expectations and we are using this information to inform our service delivery. A key insight was that customers would like us to pro-actively contact them in the event of an unplanned power outage. We have listened and now send text messages to life support customers where we have mobile phone contact numbers. Over the coming months Ausgrid will be contacting customers to confirm and update their details to further improve communication during interruptions to power supply.