Trust. It forms the basis for all relationships in this world but what exactly does it mean?
A “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something”, “a reliance on another person or entity”, “assured reliance on the integrity, ability or character of a person or thing”. Those are just a few definitions I came across when I googled the word.
It’s not a legal requirement, nor is it mentioned in a company’s specifications but it is an unwritten rule that trust is crucial for any business or industry to operate successfully.
However, unfortunately for the energy industry, the crisis of Parliamentary trust continues to grow according to a new survey. It revealed 86% of MPs don’t trust the energy industry to provide clear information for customers to choose between suppliers and 79% said they distrust the sector to protect the poor and vulnerable from high energy prices. A total of 36% of them also don’t believe the sector will quickly act towards moving to lower carbon generation methods.
Now aren’t MPs supposed to be those people we elect to decide the legislation and regulations needed for the industry to grow and how we, as consumers, can be helped and benefit from it? And aren’t they the ones who’ve been pushing everyone towards creating a green and sustainable future?
If the Government don’t trust the industry to do what is needed, how can energy companies expect us to trust them? It feels like we’re leaving our life in the hands of the devil and it’s up to them to decide what they want to do. Or is that a bit too dramatic?
Well, regardless of it, the industry doesn’t seem to be doing it right as it’s not just the MPs who distrust the sector. Another survey showed businesses are angry and frustrated with their energy suppliers and are fed up of the continuous price rises which they believe are unfair. What’s even worse is they said they trust their banks, insurance providers, solicitors and accountants more than they do their energy suppliers.
So is trust in the energy industry purely based on who provides the cheapest tariff, who is able to handle consumer complaints better or who can give better customer satisfaction?
Now, let’s take a few steps back to when we hosted the Energy Live 2012 conference. Trust was one of the main topics and was evidently weighing on everyone’s minds. Energy suppliers said trust is something that needs to be earned and that they were working towards creating a relationship that was trustworthy with their customers.
Two and a half months on and nothing seems to have changed. It obviously isn’t something that can be earned in a matter of days, but it doesn’t seem like much progress has been made. So why is it so difficult for the industry to gain trust?
Whatever it may be, something needs to be done. Maybe it’s time for energy firms to be open about what they intend to do and are doing, letting consumers know about their failures as much as they do their success. Maybe it’s time for them to accept their mistakes for what they’ve done instead of blaming it on Government policies everytime.
And maybe it is time for that honest conversation after all.