Trust in energy companies has been dwindling while prices have been creeping up. Over to Tim Yeo MP, who’s giving you a chance to share your questions with your energy suppliers. Do you trust your supplier?
Public trust in energy companies is extremely low and it is not being helped by an apparent lack of transparency from firms on prices and profits. The government is planning significant changes in the UK energy system in the next few years in order to deliver secure, clean and affordable energy in future.
But, in order to deliver such changes successfully, greater public confidence and trust in the government and energy companies’ ability to deliver a fair deal to consumers and protect the most vulnerable households is needed.
We’re asking energy customers to share their questions for energy suppliers for our next committee session.
Calling for energy evidence
How can the government and companies earn the trust of the public on energy issues? It’s a tough question and there is no simple answer. That’s why the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, which I chair, has launched an inquiry into energy prices, energy company profits and fuel poverty.
In our first evidence session, we heard from Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, who highlighted the complexity of energy markets and the need for greater transparency in order to strengthen consumer confidence and engagement.
Consumer Focus explained how energy company communications could be misleading to consumers, emphasising the need for clarity and simplicity in billing. The increasing burden of energy bills and the pressures placed on low-income families were outlined by Citizen’s Advice. While National Energy Action and Age UK expressed serious concerns regarding rising fuel poverty and questioned the adequacy of government programmes to address this.
The structure of energy companies, the way they trade and how they present their profits are all areas of interest to the committee, along with the impact of government policies on fuel poverty and the implications of rising energy prices for consumers.
Digging deeper into the energy market
As our inquiry progresses, we will have the opportunity to look at these issues in more depth, questioning energy company representatives, consumer and fuel poverty groups, politicians, experts and policymakers. In particular, we hope to focus on public perceptions and what energy companies and regulators can do to ensure consumer protection and fairness in the energy market.
As part of this investigation we are asking members of the public to let us know the one question they would like to see their energy provider answer. The committee will be putting some of these questions to energy company bosses on Tuesday 16 April at 10am.
We would love to hear from the Which? Conversation community, so please let us know the one question you would like put to energy firms next week. You can tweet your question using the hashtag #AskEnergyFirms by 11.59pm on Thursday 11 April.
Which? Conversation provides guest spots to external contributors. This is from Tim Yeo, chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee. All opinions expressed here are Tim’s own, not necessarily those of Which?