Most Britons don’t trust energy suppliers

Survey reveals widespread confusion around bills. Picture: PA
Survey reveals widespread confusion around bills. Picture: PA
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More than half of Britons don’t trust energy suppliers amid widespread confusion and anxiety about bills, a survey found.

Some 51 per cent of 10,000 adults said they did not trust any energy supplier, with this rising to 57 per cent of those living in fuel poverty or with a disability, the poll for the government-
created Smart Meter Central 
Delivery Body (SMCDB) found.

More than a third were concerned that their energy bills are not accurate, and 41 per cent worried that they pay for more energy than they consume.

A tenth did not know how much they pay for energy and more than a third said they do not understand their energy bill.

The survey revealed that more than two-fifths of consumers did not believe they have the information they need to choose the right energy tariff, while almost as many were not confident they had enough information to 
select the right supplier.

Almost half of those polled said they were interested in having a smart meter installed in their homes.

SMCDB chief executive Sacha Deshmukh said: “Our research shows that more than half of the population feel they cannot trust any energy supplier.

“In an era when we are able to compare, record and track our household spending more easily than ever before, two in five of us have no idea whether we’re paying too much for our energy.

“Antiquated systems for recording energy use and managing billing are no longer fit for purpose.

“Households need to be able to take control of their energy use and bills. For this to happen, the national smart meter roll-out is the essential transformation of the technology we use to buy energy. It will create newly empowered consumers, and increase trust in those who sell us gas and electricity, and our research bears this out.

“Today, still over a year ahead of the start of the mass roll-out of smart meters, almost half of consumers told us that they are interested in having a smart meter installed in their homes. That is why it is so important that government is driving forward the programme to install smart meters across Great Britain and has brought together all the electricity and gas suppliers and networks to deliver this critical upgrade to the energy 
infrastructure in all of our homes.”

More than 10,033 British adults were surveyed for the poll between 31 March and 13 April.

Independent energy firms Good Energy and Ecotricity topped the 2014 Which? energy company customer satisfaction survey. They emerged jointly victorious with 82 per cent.

Despite dominating the market, the “big six” energy suppliers – British Gas, EDF Energy, Eon, Npower, SSE and Scottish Power – all ended up in the bottom of the results table.

Out of the big six energy suppliers, Eon saw the highest customer score of 45 per cent, while Npower came last with just 31 per cent.

Npower received the worst customer score overall. It scored just one star in three areas, including value for money, how it deals with complaints and how it helps customers save energy.