Views on energy and climate change

DECC publishes survey results on energy and climate change

Earlier this week the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published the results of a survey of over 2000 people into energy and climate change.  DECC plan to do 4 of these surveys a year to gauge whether their activities are aligned with public concerns.

The survey was done in March (21st – 25th) and you can view the full results from the DECC website.

Quite a few interesting snippets came out, perhaps the most interesting is the policy of giving any public resources to energy suppliers to help with energy efficiency measures – if only about half the population trust them to give them impartial advice surely there are other bodies who could use our resources better in this area.  Perhaps this explains the lack of success energy suppliers have had in distributing energy efficiency grants.

What wasn’t asked:


  • There were no questions on the Green Deal – the flagship policy to help us to borrow money to make our homes energy efficient. We find this very puzzling as the policy is due to launch in October 2012 and there has been a fair amount of debate that for the green deal to deliver its ambitious aims it will need a big communications drive.  This survey seemed to us an ideal time to check public awareness and monitor how it changes in the coming year.

Some snippets from the results:


  • Though vast majority think about energy saving a lot (27%) or a fair amount (54%) there are still quite a lot of people who leave the heating on when the go out for a few hours, leave the lights when they leave a room or boil their kettle with more water than they need
  • 53% had never heard of smart meters (if you are one of them you can find out what smart meters are)
  • Few saw energy supply (3%) and climate change (2%) as major challenges facing Britain today … maybe if there is a survey going on now, this will change after the seemingly never ending rain since April. Unsurprisingly, unemployment is the number one concern (43%). 
  • Concern over climate change was fairly low at 65% with a staggering 34% “not all” or “not very” concerned.
  • Energy price rises were the biggest concern for the future – with 90% of people either “very” or “fairly” concerned
  • People were also concerned with Britain being too reliant on energy imports and not developing alternative energy sources (79% and 76% either “very” or “fairly” concerned).

On Renewable Energy


  • The majority of people support all forms of renewable energy with strongest support for solar (83%) followed by  off-shore wind (76%), wave and tidal (75%) land-based wind (66%) and biomass (64%).

However, it seems likely that financial support for Feed in Tariffs will continue to diminish – reflecting pressure from the Treasury rather than any opposition to renewables within DECC (in our opinion).

Views on Energy Suppliers


  • 50% of people trust energy suppliers “a lot” or a “fair amount” to give them a fair deal though only 44% trusted them to tell them if they were on the best tariff.
  • Only 48%  of people trust energy suppliers to improve the energy efficiency of their home and only 53% trust them to provide impartial and accurate advice on energy efficiency.

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Switching energy suppliers


  • Only 33% plan to or may switch suppliers in the next year – despite all the evidence showing that they can save money.
  • 15% say they have switched supplier in the last year. (This corresponds well Ofgem figures on switching suppliers which were about 14% for the corresponding period)
  • 21% of people have heard about collective switching (an encouraging figure) and 34% would consider joining such a scheme (that’s still encouraging as it represents some 6 – 8 million households)
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