It has always been said that the consumer is the king and will remain the king in the market place-meaning that the success or failure of any product/service depends on the attitude of consumer towards it. The consumer attitude may be positive in which case the product/service enjoys consumer’s acceptance or negative attitude, which will result in rejection of the service/product, and various factors could be responsible for each situation. This means that public utilities have to be aware of the consumers’ ideas, opinions and interest towards the companies’ services, type of services and if possible, factors responsible for such attitude. Therefore, it is in the light of the above that the researcher went into to determine what attitude towards the public utilities that exist in the mind of the consumers. The study is aimed at determining the extent to which people regard NEPA as a corporate body and the confidence imposed on the provision of efficient and quality power supply. Chapter one, as the introductory segment, determines the attitude of consumer towards public utility especially NEPA. Chapter two deals with the concept of consumer behaviour. Chapter three looks at the methodologies used in carrying out the research work. Actual Data presentation and findings were presented in chapter four. While chapter five and the concluding segment looks at the implications, discussions of result and recommendations.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
This research work is aimed at determining the attitude of Consumers towards public utilities Nigeria Government’s policy on the development of Public Corporations was clearly defined in the 1970 /74 second National Development Plan document as follows; “Statutory Corporations and State owned companies have become important tools for public intervention in the development process. Their primary purpose is to stimulate and accelerate National Economic Development under conditions of capital scarcity and structural defects in private Business organizations. There are also basic considerations arising from the dangers of leaving vital whims of the private sectors often under the direct and remote control of foreign large scale industrial companies, public corporations are these crucial in Nigeria’s quest for the National Economic Independence and self- reliance”.
The National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) being one of the statutory corporations in a household name presently, companies are actually bringing a lot of re-thinking into the minds of Nigeria’s entrepreneur both private and public firms making them to actually appreciate the modern marketing concept. A management orientation which holds that the key task of the organization to determine the need and want of target marketers and to adopt the organization to deliver the desired satisfaction, services more effectively and efficiently than competitions. Meanwhile, one of the implications of the concept is that, the consumer, in any market segment will favour the offer of the organization which comes close to satisfying the consumer’s particular needs and wants. Therefore, it is necessary for and organization to seek and understand customer’s preface habits, behaviours and criticism, and to do this, the organization has consumers’ interest and influences their behaviours. Moreover, setting up an organization for the purpose mentioned before, an organization should better hold it responsible the attitude of the consumer, towards the organization and it’s product and services. However, the main priority of the management of NEPA in Enugu metropolis is to identify which of their variable services possess greater influence on the attitude of consumers towards the organization, the knowledge of variables, the consumers’ opinion, feeling and ideas about their services will help management of the marketing mix in order to achieve their objectives. Also, it will enhance growth, expansion and ensure greater rate of returns in public utilities. NEPA as a monopolist service industry, recognizes these multi-national variables and even exploring other means of providing better services.
Discussions on NEPA features regularly on the pages of the dailies and periodicals, as well as on the Radio and television programmes. The frequency at which the Newspapers and magazines publish Material on NEPA tends to portray the importance of the electricity industry as a surveyor or catalyst in the National Economic Development. This research work is a conscious effort towards X- raying the overall customers’ attitude in relation to productive and efficient power supply of electricity often referred to as the “heart beat of the Nation”.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
This government of Enugu State have been putting necessary and required efforts energy to see / enhance the supply of public utilities (Electricity) in the State. For example, the Enugu State government has provided cheaper measures by which consumers can enjoy these utilities especially provided personnel with better pay packages in order to make them increase productivity. But inspite of all these, the consumers of public utilities like power supply; still feels dissatisfied by these services due to :
(1) Incessant power outage experienced on daily basis in Enugu metropolis.
(2) Power surge: Which was either too high or too low voltage the led to inconvenience disaster and also destroyed electronics in homes.
(3) Fraud: The authority, most of the time, did not walk around to read meters, instead, they sat back in their offices.
(4) Illegal disconnections: Officials of NEPA bills to consumers no longer did this these days, thereby accumulating bills for consumers which led to disconnection without notice by the authority.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF STUDY
The persistent public outcry over the authority’s erratic power juxtaposed with the numerous excuses offered by the authority, some of which tend to expose the consumers to blame, from the crux of the matter, while the consumers accuse NEPA of inadequate ter-accustions on the consumer for what it describes as their non-cooperative attitude. It is in the view of this controversy that, the researcher embarked on this project with the following:
(1) To determine the ideas, attitudes and views consumers held about public utilities in Enugu Metropolis.
(2) To determine the extent to which services of NEPA are demanded compared to other public utilities.
(3) To find out the impression consumers have about the price of the organization’s services in relation to quality.
(4) To determine the influence of reference group on the purchase decision.
(5) To determine the effect of promotional activities on consumer decision to the service of NEPA at Enugu Metropolis.
(6) To analyse ways of wining consumers favourable attitude and thereby, improve the market shares among other services.
1.4 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is limited to finding out how consumers rates or regards the services rendered by public corporations with special reference to National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) Enugu Zonal office.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
(i) Does Services, price and quality commensurate with consumers’ needs and wants?
(ii) Does consumers’ past experience lead to attitude formation?
(iii) Does the concept of reference group lead to the demand of NEPA Services?
(iv) What are the attitudes of Consumers towards NEPA Services?
(i) NEPA Services, price and quality are not acceptable to Consumers.
(ii) Customers’ past experience leads to attitude formation.
(iii) The Concept of reference group does not lead to demand for a service.
(iv) Consumers’ attitudes are not favourable.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It will be seen also, as a reference point for students who might be carrying out research on similar or related topic. It will also help government to access the service ability of NEPA or paralleled organization. It will help the NEPA management to identify areas that are likely to increase performance for customers’ satisfaction.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
ATTITUDE: A pattern of relatively enduring, feeling, beliefs, and behaviours tendency towards other people, ideas, or objectives.
CONCEPT: General notion or idea underlying a class of thing.
MARKETING MANAGER: This is the overall Boss in charge of sales of goods and services in a company / organization.
CONSUMER: The actual user of the product.
DATA ANALYSIS: Description of the information collected as related to the context.
DEDUCTION: Reaching a conclusion by reasoning base.
INFLUENCE: An act of or process of referring a conclusion or opinions arrived at by inferring.
MAGNITUDE: Size or importance of a market, which prefers to buy a company’s product usually in percentage).
MARKET SEGMENT: A group of buyers within a market, who have relatively similar, wants and needs.
MARKETING RESEARCH: A systematic objective approach to the development and precision of information for decision making regarding a special market problem.
METROPOLIS: This is a chief or capital city of a State or country.
PROMOTIONAL ACTIVITIES: These are tools for promotion in personal selling, advertising, public relations etc.
PUBLIC UTILITIES: These are essential services rendered by the state or home accredited agencies to the public.
N.E.P.A: National Electric Power Authority power supply agency.
AUTHORITY: Influence exercised by virtue of character, office, mental or moral qualities.
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