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Aurora Energy Has the Best Utility Web Site in NZ

Aurora Energy Has the Best Utility Web Site in Australia and New Zealand, According to Platts Study

Customers of Aurora Energy in Tasmania, Australia are served by the best utility Web site in Australia and New Zealand, according to an independent comprehensive review of over 170 international utility Web sites conducted by Platts.

Web sites for two other Australian companies-Country Energy and Integral Energy-also placed in the top quartile of worldwide utility Web sites. In general, Australian utility Web sites outperformed New Zealand sites. The top quartile also includes sites from Belgium, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, United Kingdom, and United States. Overall, Canadian companies have the best utility Web sites in the world.

"This survey pays special attention to the ease of finding and using the features offered on electric and gas Web sites," said Andrew Heath, research director of the E Source E Business service in Platts Research & Analytics group. "Customers in the developed world have at last started to use the online services offered by their utility-especially for simple transactions such as checking their account balance or making a payment."

"We were surprised to see that Web sites from the same country or region often exhibited similar levels of functionality and/or usability," observed Florence Lu, a researcher in Platts E Source E Business Service. "It appears that companies often provide online experiences similar to others in their region but fail to seek out best practices from elsewhere in the world."

Around the world there is a marked difference between the best in class and the also-rans-both in terms of the functions supported and the usability of the functions. On average electric and gas Web sites earned ratings of "Poor" to "Moderate" when examined from a customer's point of view, and on average they only supported two-thirds of the functions customers would be interested in using. These results are consistent with previous Platts research showing that electric and gas Web sites perform poorly when customers are asked to compare them to the Web sites of financial providers, or retailers.

Following an earlier review of U.S. Web sites, Platts visited the English- and French-language Web sites of more than 70 electric and gas companies in the world. Each Web site was assessed from the customer point of view. The review examined the functions supported and the ease-of-use for the services offered by each Web site.

The research explored more than just the "overall Web site." It examined individual Web pages, especially features and functions offering online services to customers. Platts has searched for and assessed over 3,300 electric- and gas-company Web pages. Each review took on average 20 minutes to complete, making this the most comprehensive benchmark data for electric and gas Web sites in the world.

The survey was completed in 2003 and 2004. Quality control procedures ensured that potentially subjective measure "ease-of-use" was applied consistently across reviewers and throughout the survey period. Companies included in the review are located in Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Caribbean, France, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa, United Kingdom, and United States. Data for U.S. companies is based on the most recent Platts review-all U.S. sites were reviewed in 2002 more recently. Platts is the world leader in providing energy information. For nearly a century, Platts has helped to enable ever-changing global energy markets enhance their performance through such offerings as independent industry news and price benchmarks. From 14 offices worldwide, Platts covers the oil, natural gas, electricity, nuclear power, coal, petrochemical and metals markets. Additional information on Platts real-time news and price assessment services, publications, databases, geospatial tools, conferences, magazines, research and analytical services and energy financial services is available at http://www.platts.com.

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