Power companies top list of public dislike
The latest Choice Consumer Pulse has revealed that electricity bills are the number one concern for Australian consumers.
The consumer survey also revealed that energy sector has a severe reputation problem.
Choice says 70 per cent of survey respondents cited electricity as their biggest concern, followed by food and groceries, the cost of fuel, health/medical worries, car insurance and finally water.
The latest Consumer Pulse ranked the trustworthiness of ten service providers, and granted the energy sector the unenviable first spot for untrustworthiness.
Choice director of campaigns and communications Matt Levey says it was not surprising.
The finding backs a recent report (PDF) by the St Vincent de Paul Society, which found some major market and regulatory failures in providing customers with clear and reliable information about energy offers.
“Benefiting from shopping around is a positive aspect of competitive markets and consumer choice, and we have a solid track record in encouraging consumers to get involved and seek a better price,” the Vinnies report said.
“However, with the outrageous retail premiums that customers are currently being charged, we need the market model fixed rather than blaming consumers for losing when snoozing.”
Choice reported similar findings.
“When we looked at energy retailers last year, we found it a sector of hard sells and contract confusion,” the consumer advocates said.
Insiders say discontent with traditional forms of energy has grown alongside interest in home battery storage.
There are reports that owners of solar panels are beginning to ask if their solar power systems are battery ready, but energy companies have done little to serve the reduced reliance on grid-based power.
With thousands of dollars are in saving available from a reasonably sized solar system - even without storage – experts say proactive companies must help households understand their options and requirements, rather than ignore the reduced reliance on the grid.