A status check on suppliers' progress towards their pledges to empower consumers. How much progress has been made?
Consumers feel they have more choice, control and a better experience in meeting their energy needs.
More than three-quarters of energy suppliers have upped efforts to offer consumers sustainable alternatives and encourage their uptake, and 9 out of 10 energy suppliers are actively expanding their service offering. As a result, European energy consumers feel that they have more choice, control and a better experience than 12 months ago. More than a quarter of consumers reported more options and solutions, and one in five felt more in control over their energy usage and costs and found the process simpler and more transparent. Increasing supplier focus on good customer service, a growing variety of suppliers with expanding range of services, and high satisfaction with products and services of suppliers have all contributed to this positive perception.
Close to 80% of consumers aren’t making use of new energy solutions available yet – many don’t know how.
Unfortunately, 26% of consumers – equivalent to 116 million people across the EU - don’t know that their energy supplier offers new products and services to help them save energy, generate their own energy, and switch to electric mobility. Financial barriers remain important obstacles to the adoption of low-carbon energy products and services. Less than one in five people are using low-carbon solutions – with a quarter of people concerned electric products such as heating and electric vehicles are too expensive. Wider participation is essential for the transition to a zero-carbon energy system and requires continued investment in awareness, customer knowledge and service quality, as well as solutions designed for the unique needs and wants of individual customer segments.
Concerted action involving many partners is needed to help everyone participate in the energy transition.
Consumers look to all actors in the new energy ecosystem to help them in their personal transition journey. Collaboration between suppliers, partners and government in the new energy ecosystem are critical for wider consumer participation. Often, when consumers understand their options and are able to try new solutions, they get on board. Between 73% and 92% of consumers that have used new energy products and services from their supplier have found them useful. With increased information, better guidance and simple routes to adopt new solutions – more consumers will participate in the energy transition. Governments have multiple roles – as leaders and as enablers – in ensuring that all consumers take part in the energy transition.
Overall, European energy consumers feel that they have more choice and control over their energy use and a better experience when interacting with their supplier than 12 months ago. The group of consumers that have seen positive change in these areas is three to four times larger than those that have seen a reduction.
Energy providers are powering up their new energy offering - and their consumers switch on.
A huge majority of European energy suppliers have boosted efforts to offer consumers sustainable alternatives and encourage their uptake. 88% of companies have upped activity to provide new products and services, and more than three-quarters on improving their consumers’ experience and control over energy usage and costs. More than a quarter of consumers reported more choice of services and solutions, and one in five felt more in control over energy usage and costs and found the experience simpler and more transparent. The group of consumers that have seen positive change in choice, control and experience is three to four times larger than those that have seen a reduction in these areas.
Choice: New services & solutions
Products and services for solar PV and home energy management are most common and popular among consumers and suppliers are expanding their services for electric vehicles and demand response. With 69% of consumers not yet aware of the new products and services on offer, awareness is the critical lever for increasing uptake of these sustainable options.
Control: Affordability & inclusion
Many energy suppliers offer advice, products and services to help retail customers save costs on their energy bill, and the vast majority of consumers that use these are satisfied. More consumers can benefit if awareness of these products and services is extended to beyond the 39% of consumers that knows of them currently.
Experience: Simplicity & transparency
Energy suppliers place strong emphasis on creating a smooth and transparent experience for customers. Many consumers recognize the progress, but a significant group sees room for improvement.
There are three main drivers of the positive consumer perception of choice, control, and experience:
- High satisfaction with use of new products and services that energy suppliers provide.
- More choice to find the best deal due to a growing number of suppliers who actively expand the range of services.
- Increasing focus of energy suppliers to simplify customer services through digital channels and self-service solutions.
About the research
In April and May 2021, we gathered input from energy suppliers across Europe about their activities and plans for empowering their customers. In parallel, we asked over 2,000 consumer in 10 European countries whether they have seen a change in their level of choice, control and experience in meeting their energy needs.
Eurelectric and Accenture commissioned YouGov to conduct a general population survey in 10 European countries. All samples are broadly nationally representative of adults aged 18+ who are either solely or jointly responsible for dealing with energy suppliers in each country. In total, 2,068 respondents were interviewed online.
Company survey and interviews
In total, 50 Eurelectric members out of 63 company signatories answered an online survey. Eurelectric and Accenture conducted 15 qualitative interviews to elaborate and deepen the answers provided by through the survey and to collect best practices.