Residential customer behaviour change through Facebook practices in electrical power utility sector

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University of New Brunswick


Canadian electric power utilities struggle to engage and motivate citizens to adopt sustainable, power consumption behavior and meet energy reduction targets. Social media provides a new communication tool between customers and businesses, which may in turn play a fundamental role in facilitating customer engagement. As social media plays an increasingly influential role in the life of users, utilities are seeking to be more active in these forums. While there are many studies about consumer behavior change, there are only a few directed to electric power utilities. Moreover, there is little research that integrates psychological frameworks to understand how electric power utilities use Facebook to shape customer behavior. In this study, I examined Canadian and American electrical power utility usage of Facebook practices to understand their approach to shaping customer behavior through this online platform. I collected data from electrical utilities’ Facebook pages and their online documents to address the research objective. Canadian and American utilities were considered as a suitable research context for their geographic, legal, and cultural continuity, and similarities within the climate change challenges. My analysis indicates that although Facebook has a great number of users and participation, the rate of engagement by electric power utilities is low. I also consider in this thesis the requirements for greater planning and action to increase user engagement.