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Energy giants mistrusted by half of customers

Overcomplicated bills caused mistrust of suppliers

Overcomplicated bills caused mistrust of suppliers

Half of consumers do not trust energy suppliers, citing poor value for money and a lack of transparency, according to a 
survey.

The poll, for comparison website uSwitch.com, found 50 per cent did not trust suppliers and 45 per cent trusted them less than they did two years ago.

Of those who distrusted their supplier, almost half (48 per cent) cited poor value for money and 37 per cent blamed a lack of openness or transparency.

A quarter (25 per cent) said they did not receive easy-to-
understand bills information and 12 per cent said suppliers made communication difficult.

A third of those who did not trust their suppliers (33 per cent) said it was because they did not try to help customers reduce their bills.

Those who did trust their supplier (40 per cent) cited straightforward bills and information (49 per cent), good customer service (43 per cent), ease of communication (39 per cent) and helpfulness (36 per cent).

But more than half of bill payers (52 per cent) have had contact with their energy supplier, besides receiving a bill, within the past six months and more than three-quarters (79 per cent) were satisfied with the last contact they had.

And almost a fifth (19 per cent) thought their energy supplier had demonstrated that they wanted their custom, while 13 per cent said their bills were clearer and easier to understand.

USwitch.com’s director of consumer policy, Ann Robinson, said: “The breakdown in trust between consumers and energy suppliers is symptomatic of a far deeper malaise.

“The simple fact is that this market is not working for consumers, which is why it’s now critical that [regulator] Ofgem gets the prescription right and sets it on the road to recovery.

“In a healthy market, competition forces prices down and innovation and service up.

“Consumers feel empowered to vote with their feet, and this in turn helps to keep companies on their toes.

“This isn’t happening in the energy market, and it’s no 
coincidence that just four in ten consumers trust suppliers at the same time as switching is at an all-time low.

“If we are to see this market succeed, then Ofgem has got to turn this low-level of engagement around – this is the yardstick by which the success of its reforms should be measured.

“In the meanwhile, the good news for consumers is that suppliers do seem intent on pulling up their socks.

“But if you are unhappy with the progress being made, let your supplier know.”

 

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