Photo: Consumer concerns highlight the need for retailers to talk to customers, Ms Sinclair said. (ABC News Online: Kathy Lord)
Households and small businesses rank electricity behind banking, mobile phone and internet services on value for money, a national survey of energy consumers shows.The survey of 2,300 consumers and 200 small businesses by Energy Consumers Australia also found there was widespread concern about the sector's future reliability.
- Consumers rank value for money for electricity services behind other services, including banks, insurance, gas and mobile phones.
- 34 per cent of consumers are confident they will get better value for money in the future
- 33 per cent are not confident the energy market is working in their interests
The group's CEO Rosemary Sinclair said with consumers facing double-digit price hikes, the survey results highlighted the need for retailers to better communicate with their customers.
"There's no visible reason that consumers can see for these increases," she said.
"So when they think about energy compared to other sectors they really feel that the value for money's very poor.""Retailers have a responsibility to work with their customers to help them avoid a price shock in the months ahead."
Ms Sinclair also said there was evidence consumers saw competition as a good thing but they were not convinced they were getting the benefits they should be.
"What the energy sector will be doing at the start of July will be sending more price hikes to customers and we just don't see that sort of price rise in other industries without a change in the value for money," she said.
"But ultimately with consumers being nervous about the sector, we're not at a good starting point."
Photo: The report predicted the trend towards alternative energy would accelerate. (Supplied: Desert Knowledge Australia)
Customers taking matters into their own handsThe survey also showed more people were taking energy consumption into their own hands.
Ms Sinclair said as the cost for electricity increased more people were likely to invest in energy alternatives.
"We've seen a very significant increase in people investing in solar panels and batteries," she said.
"We expect with more price rises expected that that trend will accelerate."
The new report into thefuture of the National Electricity Market could lead to a better consumer experience, according to Ms Sinclair.
She said the implementations of some of the measures laid out in Alan Finkel's report could lead to more consumer confidence.
"We're not expecting this to be over in a hurry, but certainly value for money disillusionment has been a consistent [theme] over the past three surveys that we've done and we're not expecting it to be over in a hurry," she said.
"It's going to require a combination of the Finkel recommendations being implemented to deal with the issues in the medium to long term."