Ernst & Young: Trust is key in energy industry

Trust is one of the main issues in the energy industry and suppliers need to do more to gain it from consumers. With gas and electricity prices continuously rising, analysts […]

Register now!

By Priyanka Shrestha

Trust is one of the main issues in the energy industry and suppliers need to do more to gain it from consumers.

With gas and electricity prices continuously rising, analysts at Ernst & Young suggest energy companies need to help people understand the reasons why and be more open. They believe trust is key but companies aren’t convincing the public enough, especially when announcing huge profits after households struggle to pay their bills.

Richard Postance (pictured), Advisory Partner – Power & Utilities at Ernst & Young told ELN: We’re asking the UK consumers ultimately to foot the bill for over £100 billion of infrastructure. If we don’t build trust, that’s going to be a very tall order.

“The model we’ve been using about trust is a combination of intent and capability. You might trust your wife but you wouldn’t trust her to be capable to give you brain surgery and I think we’re seeing a flaw on two sides. The intent as in – do consumers trust the intent of power companies – that’s been challenged. Frankly, things like mis-selling really question the intent of power companies and also people have really struggled to understand when prices go up and the energy companies are making bills.”

He said energy firms need to stop focusing on their own goals and look at how customers too can benefit.

Mr Postance added: “If you think about this as a win-win – the ideal things are good for customers and good for energy companies. There aren’t many of those things about but energy efficiency is one of those. Where the customer loses, i.e. they have to pay more, you have to help them understand why. And things that are just naked wins for the energy company but with no benefit to the consumer, those are very dangerous… If you’re doing cost reductions to take it offshore, if that gives a worse service to the consumer, that’s a win to the energy company without a benefit to the consumer. But I think the own goals caused by poor execution remain an issue.”