Utilities? I Hear You, But I Don't Trust You

We could debate endlessly over regulated versus unregulated energy markets.  And that debate will surely continue.  But countries with more regulated markets seem to have one attribute cornered: consumer trust. So says the second key finding about consumer responses to energy conservation programs in Accenture's survey, "Understanding Consumer Preferences in Energy Efficiency" (http://bit.ly/9zMTSh). I introduced the survey here (http://bit.ly/drMT1K) and examined the first key finding here (http://bit.ly/am8rmy).

On to Accenture's key finding No. 2:

Consumers first instinct is to contact utilities/electricity providers for energy-efficiency activities, but providers still need to build trust and credibility.

Before an electricity management program can work, consumers need accurate information about it. They turn first to utilities and electricity providers for advice, for help with signing up, and for support on existing programs they've already joined.

That doesn't necessarily mean those sources are trusted. When it comes to information about actions they can take to optimize electricity consumption, consumers trust environmental, academic and consumer associations over utilities or electricity providers. Only 29 percent view those entities as trusted advisors.

Consumers expressed the highest level of trust with utilities in countries like China and Singapore. They expressed the lowest levels of trust in Germany, Sweden, and the UK.

That seems to indicate that utilities in commercially competitive energy markets are failing to earn consumer trust, while those in more regulated markets are succeeding.

Photo credit: William Morris on Flickr (http://bit.ly/cPRXQu)