Energy price cuts fail to lift negative perception of the sector

The price cuts announced by the “Big Six” energy suppliers last week have failed to lift consumers’ negative perceptions of the sector, despite heavyweight marketing campaigns launched to trumpet the reductions, according to analysis of YouGov data.

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While all the major suppliers have seen their “Buzz” increase as they scrambled to reduce energy rates, their Index scores – which measures how consumers rate brands according to impression, quality, value, reputation, satisfaction and recommendation -are down across the board.

E.On, the penultimate supplier to cut its consumers’ bills, has suffered the most statistically significant drop in Brand Index score in the past week. Its ranking dropped to -8.85 on 18 January, down from -5.95 on 12 January when the first price cut was announced by rival EDF.

British Gas’ choice to follow EDF to slash its energy prices last week and its subsequent marketing campaign to promote the cut appears to have damaged consumers’ perception of its parent brand Centrica.

While British Gas’ Buzz score was significantly up 16.91 points in the week to 5.48, Centrica’s Index ranking dropped a statistically significant 1.79 points to -7.14.

British Gas is the largest energy supplier by market share, which can mean trends in the market can cause its Index scores to fluctuate more than its rivals.

The company yesterday (18 January) launched the second stage of its marketing campaign to promote its price reduction (pictured), with press ads drawing attention to the fact that it was the only major supplier to launch immediate price cuts, rather than implementing the reductions at a later date.

The remainder of the Big Six have also failed alter impact consumers’ negative perceptions of the sector, despite their efforts to reduce prices. Their Brand Index scores have remained largely flat and have shown no statistically significant changes over the past week.

EDF, the first to announce a price decrease on 11 January, saw the most dramatic Buzz uplift in the sector.

Its Buzz ranking rose to 13.13 on 18 January from -2.32 seven days prior.

Despite the apparent increase in consumer awareness around the announcement, the media attention garnered by EDF in leading the pack to slashing prices had no effect on altering consumer perception of the brand, with its Index score down 0.04 points to -8.63 over the week.

The other Big Six suppliers, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE also all saw increases in Buzz scores in the past week but this has had little effect on their overall Brand Index ratings.

Click on “Big Six energy suppliers’ YouGov Brand Index data 12-18 January” below to see the YouGov data

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