Energy companies lose trust of informed public, finds Edelman barometer

Crumbling trust in energy providers has pushed the sector to the bottom of Edelman's annual ranking of how much informed people believe companies in certain industries will do the right thing.

Energy: within the sector renewables were much more trusted than utility companies
Energy: within the sector renewables were much more trusted than utility companies

The energy sector’s score of just 32 per cent in the Trust Barometer survey was less than half that of the top-performing industry, technology, which scored 79 per cent.

The extent to which the middle class has lost faith in the sector was also laid bare by the finding that an overwhelming majority of respondents said it was not regulated enough.

Respondents, described as the "informed public", were university educated, in the top quartile for household income and heavy consumers of the media.

Despite their trust growing in almost all of the 15 industries compared with last year, their trust in the energy sector fell from 38 per cent to 32 per cent.

This left the sector joint bottom of the ranking along with banks. However, it faces greater clamour for the Government to intervene than banks do.

The result comes after Labour leader Ed Miliband put forward a popular promise to freeze energy prices if he is elected, although it is not clear from the survey where in the energy sector people want government intervention.

The survey is clear that within the sector, utility companies are less trusted (35 per cent) than companies in the oil (39 per cent), natural gas (42 per cent), mining (45 per cent) and renewables (58 per cent) fields.

It is also possible that the controversy around fracking has fed into the survey’s finding that 73 per cent of the "informed public" believed there was not enough government regulation of the energy industry and just two per cent said there was too much.

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