Utility companies now as unpopular as tobacco and gambling industries

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
August 22, 2022, 11:53 AM GMT+0

Six in ten Britons now have an unfavourable view of utility companies

With the cost of living crisis continuing to hit wallets everywhere, Britons are bracing for news of how the energy price cap is set to change. Analysts have suggested the bill for an average household could increase to £3,582 in October, which would be more than double the rate it was the same time last year.

Rising prices mean that public sentiment towards the energy firms have taken a hammering. According to YouGov’s public tracker data, 63% of Britons now have a negative view of utility companies (water, electricity, gas providers, etc). This includes 33% of Britons who have a “very” unfavourable view of the sector. Just 10% have a favourable view, while 23% have a neither favourable nor unfavourable view.

Negativity has been ticking up since July last year, with the number of people with a “very” unfavourable opinion surging between December and April, reaching a high of 39% at the beginning of April. The number of people with a negative view overall has remained roughly consistent since February this year.

This surge in negativity means that as many people have a negative view of utility firms as have one of tobacco companies (66% have an unfavourable opinion) and gambling firms (62%) – making it one of the three most disliked industries out of 25 we track.

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