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Energy Comes Bottom in Trust Survey

2014 Edelman Trust Barometer

Trust energy to be at the bottom of the trust survey

2014 marked the 14th year that Edelman, the world’s largest PR agency, had run their “annual exploration of trust”.

In total they surveyed 33,000 people over 27 world markets to establish the ongoing levels of trust in business and government.

It was however a market closest to home and closest to our hearts that caught the attention.

Edelman’s survey suggested that dissatisfaction with the UK energy market was so high that survey participants were happy to rip up the privatised utility model and start all over again, in state hands.

Edelman reported that:

  • 56% of the public stated they would trust the industry more if it returned to state control
  • only 18% said they trusted it more as a privatised industry

Granted the UK energy market is in a pit of despair right now as it faces regular bashings on front-page headlines and is subject to a Competition and Markets Authority investigation, but nevertheless the sentiment being relayed by the Edelman survey suggested the reaction ran deeper than simply a reaction of frustration.

Overall trust in the UK energy sector was just 31%, 6% lower than 2013 and crucially lower than anywhere else globally.

As a result:

  • 73% of responders called for additional government regulation in the sector
  • 65% wanted to see the industry being a more active participant in the debate around energy policy

Rishi Bhattacharya, Managing Director of Energy and Industrials, Europe and CIS at Edelman said:

“The desperately low level of trust in energy is a wake-up call for the industry.

“It is clear that there are high levels of distrust which isn’t surprising give the barrage of headlines about escalating bills.

“There is an opportunity for the industry to systematically build levels of trust to avoid the energy industry’s position at the bottom of the table becoming the new normal.”

Whilst it comes as no surprise that the energy markets fared so badly, the call for a return to the state run, nationalised model is eye-opening, particularly given the varied respondents questioned.

Whilst the UK energy market fails in many areas, the prospect of renationalisation is not a palatable one for anyone wanting greater efficiencies and lower bills.

Whether the sample surveyed is ready for that realisation is another matter.


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