Consumer confidence survey shows ‘energy poverty’ concern

Computerised survey screen with happy, sad and neutral reactions, and finger pointing to sad reaction (consumer confidence)
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EY‘s Energy Consumer Confidence Index (ECCI), which surveyed 70,000 people across 18 markets, has found that energy providers must prioritise rebuilding consumer confidence to ensure the energy transition’s success to align with Australia’s goal of net zero by 2050.

The new research suggests that wavering consumer confidence has the potential to impede the energy transition, finding that in Australia, only 38% of consumers are confident in the affordability of their energy, and a mere 36% express confidence in the stability of their energy providers. Australian energy providers will need transform this perception to secure their survival in an evolving landscape.

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EY’s ECCI tool assesses consumer confidence in the energy sector, evaluating factors such as the stability and affordability of energy providers’ businesses, the value they create for consumers, access to clean energy options, and government support for a fair energy transition. When consumers show a strong preference for sustainable products or services, they create a virtuous circle that influences government policies and which, in turn, encourages more corporations to prioritise sustainability.

EY partner digital and emerging technology Damien Hudson believes consumer confidence is vital to accelerating Australia’s net zero transition.

“When nearly one-third of Australians believe they are in ‘energy poverty’, it becomes unlikely that they would willingly pay a premium for eco-friendly energy. Building broad based consumer confidence is therefore crucial to maintain momentum as we head toward a net zero future,” Hudson said.

While Australia compares favourably on the ECCI score to its international peers, global consumer confidence scores are areas of concern. Although Australia’s ECCI score is 65.5, higher than the global average of 62.7, a deeper analysis of global trends revealed a significant loss of consumer faith in the system’s security, with scale and complexity being major concerns. Hudson, however, believes this presents a significant opportunity for Australia’s energy providers.

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“Australian consumers are yet to fully grasp how renewables will integrate into the grid and aren’t confident in future improvements. This presents an opportunity for energy providers to engage in new conversations with their customers.

“Energy providers must play an active role in new energy product and service experiences. By simplifying the consumer path to fulfilment and reinventing the energy experience by supporting lifestyles, and individual actions and showing how renewables and greener solutions can deliver to consumer values could be the game changer that wins consumer confidence and ultimately, the support for a fair energy transition.”

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