Electricity services rate poorly with consumers
Energy Consumers Australia (ECA) released its first ever Energy Consumer Sentiment Survey and report last week (July 27) and it makes for some interesting reading.
This is a long term project for the ECA designed to provide information on household and small business consumer sentiment with a focus on three key areas including satisfaction, confidence and activity.
This is the first ever national survey and will be undertaken every six months. The survey will track changes in sentiment over time and detect patterns which can inform energy market and policy development in the long term interests of consumers.
Of particular interest from the ECA findings was that when compared with a range of other services, consumers indicated that the value for money of electricity services (and gas services) is significantly less than for their banking, water, mobile phone, insurance and internet services.
The electricity retail market in South East Queensland was deregulated on July 1. Retail deregulation is designed to increase competition in the market, which will allow customers to shop around for the best contract deal.
However, small businesses in SEQ expect to see not only better price offers but additional product and service offerings from retailers post July 1.
One of the proposed benefits of deregulation is to see more innovation enter the market with services aimed to suit small businesses specific needs.
The ECA report also provides that consumers are not confident that the energy market is working in their interests.
Further, consumers do not expect the outcomes from the energy market to improve in the future.
When asked whether they are confident the energy market will provide better value for money outcomes for them in five years time, few consumers gave a positive rating.
The ECA findings are highly concerning to CCIQ particularly given the market is now deregulated.
CCIQ believes electricity retailers have a lot of work to do to strengthen their relationships with consumers.