Image More consumers now using energy comparison websites to switch supplier
Image Rob Flynn
Staff Writer

The results of the latest Consumer Survey by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) have been revealed. The annual survey measures consumer engagement, experience and attitudes in the residential energy market.

The CRU recently published its Electricity and Gas Consumer Survey for 2021.

The main objective of the Consumer Survey, the CRU says, is to gather customer views and experiences and how they are benefitting from competition in the market.

Some 2,000 residential customers participated in the survey last year, which was conducted between May and July 2021.

In what was a tumultuous year in the energy market for consumers, last year’s results shed some much needed light on the importance of switching, as well as highlighting the potential impacts of the pandemic.

Take a look at some of the key takeaways from the survey below.

Competition and switching

Switching levels among energy customers increased slightly in 2021 from the previous year, with 19% of electricity and 20% of gas customers having switched in the past 12 months.

Surprisingly for some, the survey found that 39% of consumers in the electricity market and 40% in the gas market have never switched suppliers.

Consumers using comparison websites to switch energy suppliers increased considerably in the 12 month period with 41% and 45% of electricity and gas customers respectively using comparison sites. This was compared to 34% and 42% in 2020.

However, it’s important to note that the CRU’s survey was conducted between May and July 2021, before the energy crisis really began to take effect. With that, it will certainly be interesting to see next years results...

The CRU survey also found that 94% of consumers find switching electricity suppliers easy, with a similar 92% for gas.

At bonkers.ie, Ireland’s favourite comparison and switching site, we were recently accredited for the ninth year in a row by the CRU.

Billing and contract information

The latest consumer report highlighted a 7% jump in the number of people who read their energy bill, with 47% of households having said that they open their bills and read them in detail.

Again, it’s likely this number will increase to more than half in the next survey, especially after many households nationwide were met with their first winter bill in January after a prolonged spate of price hikes.

With consumers vying to save money in 2021, it’s no surprise that there was a big jump in consumers submitting their own meter readings, with 59% of electricity customers and 55% of gas consumers having done so. This is compared to only 32% and 40% respectively in 2019.

Importance of reading your bill

Now more than ever is it important for energy customers to sit down and really scrutinise their energy bill, whether that be in paper or PDF form.

Your energy bill contains very useful information on your energy consumption and can be a useful aid in cutting down on how much energy you use, and therefore how much you spend, especially during this time of continually rising prices.

As briefly mentioned from the report above, your bill will also tell whether your usage has been estimated or not, which is important to know if you think you’ve been overcharged.

Our Head of Communications at bonkers.ie, Daragh Cassidy recently highlighted this point, on Newstalk in a segment discussing how to take control of your bills, which you can listen back to here.

Customer satisfaction

Interestingly, customer satisfaction with electricity suppliers registered a drop of 3% to 77% in 2021, but still remained quite high. According to the CRU this is the lowest score since measurement commenced in 2013.

Meanwhile in gas, there was 84% overall gas supplier satisfaction, a 2% increase from 2020.

Once more, it will be interesting to see how suppliers fare in the next round of results, with the ongoing energy crisis still playing an important role in how customers interact with suppliers.

Other points of interest

The survey also highlighted a number of other important points which we’ve summarised below.

  • Smart meter awareness increased since 2020, up from 39% to 63% among domestic electricity customers.
  • 78% of domestic electricity customers and 86% of domestic gas customers were interested in having a smart meter installed.
  • 60% of electricity customers are interested in generating their own energy, mainly through the installation of solar panels.
  • 21% of gas customers said Covid-19 negatively impacted their ability to pay bills in 2021, up 6% from 2020.

Switching is quick and easy on bonkers.ie

We’ve been helping consumers switch and save on their energy bills for over a decade now. Why? Because our comparison tools make it super straightforward to find the best deal for you.

With our easy-to-use energy comparison service you can compare the best gas and electricity deals on the market in just a few clicks from all of Ireland’s energy providers.

You can read our helpful guide here for more information on how to get cheaper energy bills when you use bonkers.ie.

And don’t forget that bonkers.ie can also help you switch and save on your broadband, home and car insurance, mortgage and more!

If you have any questions about the latest consumer survey from the CRU you can contact us on social media. We’re on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.