Level of trust in energy firms runs low

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More than half of Yorkshire residents have no trust in energy suppliers amid widespread concern and anxiety about bills, a survey has found.

The research also found considerable confusion among consumers with more than a third of people in the region not understanding their energy bill. Two-fifths are worried they are paying for more energy than they consume.

The survey underlines the extent to which the public has become dissatisfied with the way they are treated by the energy companies.

The problem is particularly acute among those in fuel poverty or with a disability according to the survey with 60 per cent of people not trusting any energy supplier.

It was commissioned by the Government body responsible for rolling out smart meters across the country which give people a clearer picture of how much energy they are using.

Sacha Deshmukh, chief executive of the Smart Meter Central Delivery Body, 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 of 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 in Yorkshire and Humberside need to be able to take control of their energy use and bills.

“For this to happen, we need a major upgrade of the technology we use to buy energy – to create newly empowered consumers, and increase trust in those that sell us gas and electricity.”

The survey found that over two fifths of those who took part in the survey living in Yorkshire do not believe they have the information needed to choose the right energy tariff.

Consumers are frequently encouraged to switch providers but more than a third of those questioned were not confident they had enough information to select the right supplier.

The Government has plans for smart meters to be installed in 26 million homes, although the work will be carried out by the gas and energy suppliers.

The technology allows residents to see how much they are spending in pounds and pence in real-time rather than standard meter readings.

It is thought the move will encourage people to take more of an interest in how they use energy and take measures to save power.

The survey suggests close to half of people are interested in having a smart meter installed while around 85 per cent are aware of the technology.