Customer satisfaction within district heating networks with different organizational designs

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In order to support Dutch municipalities in eliminating its dependencies of natural gas consumption and production, new organizational designs were introduced for district heating networks. This led to new principles of ownership, in which networks could be publicly or privately owned, and also new market structures, in which networks could be centralized (closed) or decentralized (open) to third party access for producers/suppliers. However, there are increasingly more complaints among Dutch residents about these structures, as the consequences for consumers were neglected, which impedes them for opting new heating solutions. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to identify, not only overall customer satisfaction levels, but also evaluate similarities/differences across multiple organizational design types. Thereby using a multiple- and holistic case study design in which the following cases have been selected in accordance with their market structure: private-centralized networks, private-decentralized networks, public-centralized networks and public-decentralized networks. Subsequently, a comprehensive survey was conducted into overall customer satisfaction levels and the most important determinants that could influence these outcomes using the highly acclaimed ACSI-model. In addition, the second phase is based on a literature study that evaluated potential market problems and solutions that could improve these satisfaction levels among Dutch heat consumers.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen