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Energy Consumer Sentiment Survey Findings: December 2021

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Energy Consumers Australia

The Energy Consumer Sentiment Survey (ECSS) 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 2021 show a continuation of the recent upward trend in energy consumer satisfaction. Key findings can be seen below, for the full results, visit our microsite here.

  • 82% of household consumers are satisfied with their energy service, this is an increase of 10% since the corresponding survey last year and up 33% since the survey’s low point of December 2017.
  • 67% of households say they are satisfied with the value for money offered by their electricity service, up 2% from December 2020 and up 19% since December 2017.
  • 70% of households are satisfied with the value for money offered by their gas service, up 2% from December 2020 and up 19% 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 ever – albeit from a low base.

  • 46% of households believe the energy market is working in their interests, up 8% from Dec 2020 and a rise of 25% since December 2017
  • Similar positive results are reported from 51% of small businesses consumers.

The December ECSS also contains some standalone findings relating to the attitudes of energy consumers towards community-based forms of generation and storage. Consumer appetite appears strong for new products, services and technical solutions that offer these possibilities.

  • More than half of all consumers (55%) said they were interested in buying power from a local community solar garden,
  • 71% of family households expressed interest in doing so.
  • 43% of household consumers said initiatives such as solar gardens should be supported by government investment.
  • 57% of those surveyed said they were interested in shared or community batteries, while 69% of family households expressed interest in them.
  • 43% of consumers believe that governments should subsidise community batteries.

Unfortunately, a significant proportion of consumers are still reporting energy bill stress, with 34% of consumers more concerned about their ability to pay electricity bills in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year has been difficult in many respects but we are pleased to see 2021 end with consumers feeling relatively high levels of trust and confidence in the energy system we all share. Full survey results can be viewed on our microsite here.

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