More than 50 per cent of the population has lost trust in energy companies, according to a new report. The study by the Smart Meter Central Delivery Body (SMCDB) revealed that soaring costs, confusing tariffs and a lack of transparency were the reasons behind Brits' lost faith in the utility firms.
Some 41 per cent of consumers are now worried that they are paying too much for gas and electricity, and more than a third questioned the accuracy of their bills.
The poll of 10,000 British adults also found that one in ten have no clue how much they are paying for their energy supply, thanks to complicated tariffs.
Low income and vulnerable customers showed the greatest mistrust - hardly surprising when those living in fuel poverty pay roughly ten per cent of their income for energy supply. By contrast, trust was highest in those that had smart meters installed.
SMCDB chief executive Sacha Deshmukh told the Daily Express: "More than half the population feel they can't trust any energy supplier.
"In an era when we are able to compare, record and track our household spending more easily than ever before, two in five of us have no idea whether we are paying too much for our energy. Antiquated systems for recording energy use and managing billing are no longer fit for purpose."
Of those surveyed, 80 per cent said they were aware of smart meters, and 44 per cent claimed they would like one installed. Though the national roll-out of smart meters is due to begin next year, SMCDB chairwoman Margaret McDonagh advised consumers to "contact your supplier and get one as soon as they can install it".
The report follows a study by comparison service uSwitch last week, which claimed that energy giants were hanging onto more than £1 billion in overpaid bills, and 13 million homes could be entitled to rebates.
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