Majority of Britons believe energy companies ‘treat people with contempt’
by Harris MacLeod in Consumer, Editor's picks and Utilities
Mon October 7, 2013 12:18 p.m. BST
A majority (56%) of UK consumers say that energy companies “treat people with contempt”, and more than eight in ten (83%) feel that suppliers “maximise profits at the expense of customers”, according to a new market intelligence report from YouGov.
An overwhelming 91% of consumers say they expect energy prices to rise over the next 12 months – 24% expected prices to go up a little, 40% somewhat and 27% a lot. Furthermore, 87% agree that “prices only seem to go up and never down”.
The report, ‘Utilities: Tariffs and Loyalties’, looks at consumer attitudes towards suppliers, and behaviour when it comes to tariffs and loyalties. It found that the highest proportion of respondents (34%) are on a fixed tariff plan, while variable standard tariff was the second most subscribed to, at 12%. However, nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents say they don’t know what tariff they’re on.
Nearly half (49%) of consumers say that finding the best deal is “too complicated”, compared to only 22% who disagree and 26% are neither agree nor disagree, while 43% say they find their energy bills hard to understand. However, over half (53%) of consumers say they find price comparison sites very helpful.
Most consumers (62%) agree that “all suppliers are as bad as each other” and don’t feel attached to any of them, however nearly as many (59%) say that they would prefer to use an energy supplier that is UK owned.
Recently released YouGov economic tracking data found that consumers see energy prices as the ‘number one threat’ to the economy (22%), higher than unemployment (14%).