The Energy Consumer Sentiment Survey is a long-term project for Energy Consumers Australia. It is designed to provide information on household and small business consumer sentiment with a focus on the three key areas of satisfaction, confidence, and activity. As the survey is undertaken every six months it tracks changes in sentiment over time and detects trends which can inform energy market and policy development in the long-term interests of consumers. We publish the data from each survey so that stakeholders are able to undertake analysis of the changes that are most of interest to them, concerning outcomes for consumers in electricity and gas markets.
The results for December 2020 show a continuation of the recent upward trend in energy consumer satisfaction.
- 57% of household consumers now say they are satisfied with the value for money of their electricity supply, up 4% in the past year and up 22% since December 2017.
- 60% of small business consumers are satisfied with the value for money of electricity, up 4% in the past year and up 16% since December 2017.
- While the rise in satisfaction with value for money is positive, electricity still trails the next lowest rated essential service on this measure in every state and territory and in some cases this gap has widened.
- 78% of households are satisfied with the reliability of their electricity supply, up 8% since December 2017.
- 68% of small businesses are satisfied with their electricity supply, up 5% since December 2017.
Household consumers’ confidence also rose on key measures, with the proportion feeling the market is working in their interests at its highest level since the survey began – albeit from a low base.
- 38% of household consumers are confident the energy market was working in their interests, up from 21% in December 2017
- Confidence that the market is working in consumers’ interests is up to 45% among small business consumers, up from 38% since December 2017.
A significant proportion of consumers are reporting energy bill stress in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The proportion of household consumers saying they have sought help since the pandemic began is 15% and of these 41% say they have not received useful help. A further 10% of household consumers say they expect to seek help from their energy company in the future.
- 36% of household consumers said they had received useful communications from their energy company since the pandemic began.
- The proportion of small business consumer saying they have sought help since the pandemic is 35% with 18% (more than half of these) saying they have not received useful help. A further 18% say they expect to seek help from the energy company in the future.
- 49% of business consumers said they had received useful communications from their energy company since the pandemic began.