According to a local report, rival energy utilities CEZ and RWE are to team up to open joint customer care branches across the Czech Republic in a move to improve relations with clients. However, the development could also be an indicator of more to come.

The Prague Post has reported that German energy titan RWE, through its local subsidiary RWE Transgas, and domestic Czech power giant CEZ are to launch a series of ‘drop in’ centers for customers across the Czech Republic in order to provide customer-facing services to their account holders.

The Czech newspaper describes the move as a desire to improve customer relations by offering highly visible and easy access to clients who wish to make changes to their accounts, file complaints or to make general enquiries.

The Prague Post says the first centers were opened in Karlovy Vary and Liberec on July 5, 2006. More will open in Olomouc and Pardubice July 3 and in Hradec Králové and Ostrava on August 1.

However, it has been speculated that the development could also be a precursor to a more fundamental partnership between the two companies. With liberalization of the Czech energy market on the horizon, both firms are likely to be looking for ways to fortify their market shares ahead of an influx of new entrants.