Almost half of Brits no longer trust energy companies

The Eco Experts

Roughly half of people (49%) in Britain no longer trust energy companies, according to our latest National Home Energy Survey – up from roughly a third (34%) of people last year.

The cost of energy in the UK has soared over the past year, with electricity prices rising by 66.7% and gas prices by 129.4%. But while consumers have been experiencing these staggering increases, the companies supplying this energy are seeing record profits.

To get a better idea of how these profits have impacted public perception of energy firms, we asked 2,134 people in the UK how trustworthy they deem these companies to be, as part of our annual National Home Energy Survey.

Scroll down to explore the findings – the results are pretty scathing.

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What’s on this page?

How has the energy crisis affected public trust in energy companies?

Almost half of people in the UK don’t trust energy companies, which is up from 34% in last year’s survey.

We also asked the public how trustworthy they found energy companies to be compared to other types of businesses and found that more people ‘completely distrust’ energy suppliers than estate agents and insurance companies combined.

It’s worth noting that when we asked this question in our National Home Energy Survey in 2022, people generally trusted energy companies more than they trusted estate agents and insurance companies. Clearly, the tables have turned.

Is this distrust a direct result of the energy crisis during the past year? The results from our survey suggest it is. Although there was some distrust in energy companies before the cost of living crisis, energy companies’ trustworthiness has dropped dramatically over the past year.

However, some of our respondents stated that companies have always been this untrustworthy. One respondent claimed energy companies aren’t trustworthy and “have never been any different, even before the current energy crisis”. They go on to explain that energy companies “are a disgrace, and only change their ways when forced to by governing bodies.”

And with the rising cost of energy not estimated to return to pre-energy-crisis levels for a while (if at all), public perception of energy companies could remain this way. Find out more on our page How Long Will The Energy Crisis Last?

Trust in energy companies by generation

Levels of trust in energy companies vary between generations. Generally, people between the ages of 27 and 58 trust energy suppliers the least, since over half of both Millennials (54%) and Gen X (58%) stated they either ‘mildly’ or ‘completely’ distrust energy companies.

On the flip side, people aged 78 years or older (the Silent Generation) trusted energy companies the most, with only 28% distrusting them. This trend of trusting energy suppliers more as people get older is particularly striking, especially given people in this age bracket will be relying on fixed income during this expensive time.

Despite the fluctuating levels of trust, all generations in the study stated that they find energy suppliers more untrustworthy than any other organisation.

Pull out quote, reading: out of the 2,134 people we surveyed, only 4% of people 'completely trust' energy companies

Why has people’s trust in energy companies deteriorated?

Brits’ trust in energy companies has dropped dramatically over the past year – a direct result of the energy crisis.

According to the government, domestic gas prices increased by 129% and domestic electricity prices by 67% between January 2022 to January 2023, which was triggered by Russia’s war on Ukraine. These expensive energy prices have also had a knock-on effect on the price of nearly everything else, with the annual rate of inflation reaching 10.1% in January 2023.

As a result, 16 million people have reported having to cut back on food and essentials, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Despite these difficult times, energy companies have been making record profits.

This begs the question: why are these companies making record profits, whilst millions of consumers are struggling to pay the bills? One of our respondents described it as “predatory behaviour” and went on to say that “the people struggling the most, as the cost of living continues to skyrocket, are the ones who suffer the worst.”

Similarly, some individuals in the survey suggested they don’t trust energy suppliers to ever reduce prices to what they were in 2021. One respondent claimed that “the Russian war was an excuse to hike up the prices, and even if the energy prices do come down, I don’t think they’ll be the same as what they used to be. The energy companies only care about their shareholders and profits.”

You can find out more about this on our page: Will Energy Prices Go Down?

Do energy companies deserve this level of distrust?

This level of distrust is not without reason. Rising energy prices have impacted almost everything consumers are purchasing – from food to transport, technology to clothes. As a result, people are struggling through a cost of living crisis, with many having to choose between eating and heating.

Of course, there are some people that disagree with the consensus that energy companies are the bad guy. Out of the 2,134 people we surveyed, 4% of people stated they ‘completely trust’ energy companies. 

One of our respondents echoed this view by stating: “As the prices are regulated by the government, I would like to agree that they are fair, based on the wholesale price. Their service charges are what they are able to adjust and seem to be pretty competitive, as there are so many suppliers. The media tends to exaggerate and scaremonger.”

Other respondents were a little more on the fence, with 25% stating they ‘neither trust nor distrust’ energy suppliers.

Part of this might be down to the fact that some energy companies have behaved differently from others. For example, one respondent claimed to have a “medium-level of trust”, stating: “I believe that my energy company is giving me a competitive deal, but I expect given how many have gone bust, their shareholders will also be focused on profits.”

Explore the rest of our National Home Energy Survey 2023

See the results


Energy suppliers have certainly garnered themselves a bad reputation over the past year. And with energy prices set to increase further in April, it’s safe to say the level of trust in energy companies probably won’t improve any time soon.

This mounting level of distrust and frustration towards energy companies has also led to calls for more restrictions. Although the government imposed a windfall tax on energy companies last year, it also lets energy firms claim tax savings worth 91p of every £1 invested in fossil fuel extraction in the UK.

Want to see how this year’s National Home Energy Survey compares to last year? Head to the 2022 National Home Energy Survey.

Written by:
Beth has been writing about green tech, the environment, and climate change for over three years now – with her work being featured in publications such as The BBC, Forbes, The Express, Greenpeace, and in multiple academic journals. Whether you're after a new set of solar panels, energy-saving tips, or advice on how to reduce your carbon footprint, she's got you covered.
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