Consumers rank affordable electricity and a resilient network as their most important concerns according to our comprehensive survey, released today.

“Most consumers do not have confidence in the electricity industry to provide affordable power and a reliable supply,” said Consumer Advocacy Council Chair Deborah Hart.

“This is a wake-up call for the industry to take the prime concerns of small consumers more seriously, particularly as the survey was undertaken before the recent devastating storm events.

“The disruption to electricity supply following Cyclone Gabrielle further underlines the urgent need for the industry to invest in strengthening the resilience of the network as climate change means the frequency of these events will only increase. It’s telling that in December of last year well over half of consumers doubted the system would be prepared to cope with storm events over the next 10 years. 

“But building resilience can’t come at the cost of ensuring electricity remains affordable, particularly now with pressure on household budgets. Even before these storms some two thirds of residential consumers and more than half of small businesses were worried that electricity will become unaffordable for some within the next decade.

“Right now, about one third of residential and small business consumers believe the market is not delivering fair prices with a similar number doubting this will improve over the next 5 years.

“Electricity retailers should be worried that so many consumers are unhappy with prices and the state of the sector today. And they are fearful about the future,” said Hart.

In late 2022, Kantar Public surveyed just over 1000 residential consumers and 500 small businesses about the energy sector on our behalf. The findings from the survey showed that the affordability of electricity and the resilience of the network were the main issues for this group of consumers. Fair prices and value for money were also top of mind.

“What this all tells us is that it’s high time consumers should be front and centre when regulators, and the industry are making decisions on the future shape of our electricity system,” said Hart. 

“We are in a time of great change as we deal with threats to our network from climate change storm events, and the need to reduce emissions as we head towards 100% renewable generation. Consumers are the ones ultimately funding the industry, and their concerns can’t be ignored.”

“The Council’s mandate is to be a strong voice for consumers and our regular sentiment surveys will strengthen our ability to better advocate for the change consumers need so that the electricity network is affordable, resilient and sustainable.”

Find out more about the survey and read the full report

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