Anglian Water expands into Net shopping

The search by utilities companies for higher margin business took a new turn this week with the announcement that Anglian Water is launching a direct shopping service for home appliances.

The company is to sell a range of more than 5,000 products, including dishwashers and washing machines, on the Internet and by phone. It will be part of the service offered by the company’s subsidiary Anglian Water Direct, which launched in August. The service has teamed up with Internet retailer Value Direct, and gives a price guarantee offering refunds if customers can find products cheaper on the High Street.

Meanwhile, Seeboard, the electricity company with 2 million customers in the South-east of England, is launching what it claims is the UK’s first loyalty card for energy users.

The ‘thankyou’ card gives customers instant discounts of up to 25 per cent in 100,000 restaurants, hotels, and shops worldwide, as well as discounts on their bills

Electricity and gas companies are keen to find business extension opportunities after facing tough competition for domestic and business customers in the newly-deregulated energy market.

Water companies are preparing for deregulation. Most companies are looking to expand out of utilities into new areas, such as British Gas parent Centrica’s purchase of the Automobile Association.

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