Consumer trust in energy industry ‘falls to lowest level’

Only one in seven consumers trust energy companies to act in their best interest, a new survey has revealed. Nearly 60% of people also said they don’t trust energy firms […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Only one in seven consumers trust energy companies to act in their best interest, a new survey has revealed.

Nearly 60% of people also said they don’t trust energy firms at all – making it the most distrusted in the consumer industry sector – compared to banking (33%), car salesmen (55%) and train companies (27%).

More than half said energy is now the top of their list of worries, with 84% concerned about prices, according to the Consumer Insight Tracker by Which? It showed trust in the industry has “fallen to its lowest level” since the tracker was launched in July last year.

The news comes as no surprise as the Big Six have been hit back after hiking prices this winter – SSE, British Gas, npower and ScottishPower have so far raised prices with others expected to follow suit – following which the energy suppliers were summoned before a panel of MPs to justify it.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey pledged to make switching suppliers easier for customers and promised an annual check on competitiveness but the consumer body doesn’t believe that’s enough.

Executive Director Richard Lloyd said: “The number of people worrying about energy prices has rocketed while trust in the companies has plummeted.

“What we have heard from the Government so far is too little and too late for the millions of hard pressed consumers worrying how they will pay for their energy bills this winter. Consumers need to see radical changes now.”

Another research from Which? also revealed seven in 10 energy bill payers cut back on how much heating they use to keep costs down and almost half (43%) are worried about getting into debt as a result of rising energy prices. Nearly a quarter said they have taken money out of savings to pay for a bill in the last year.

Energy UK said rebuilding trust and improving customer service is “high” on energy companies’ agendas.

A spokesperson from the trade body added: “Energy companies have been working hard on making energy bills clearer, making it simpler to switch between energy suppliers and reducing the number of tariffs so people find the best deal for them.

“No one should be afraid to put the heating on this winter as help is available… Energy companies want to ensure people who need it most get assistance.”