Consumer standards qualitative research

Reports, plans and updates

Publication date

Industry sector

Supply and Retail Market

Thinks Insight and Strategy were commissioned by Ofgem to undertake consumer research with GB domestic energy consumers to support policy development for customer service standards. With many consumers struggling with their bills, it is more critical than ever that suppliers provide good service to their customers. Building on the existing rules and the outcomes from our Market Compliance Reviews, we are considering the need to develop and implement reforms to drive up standards for all consumers. This report outlines the findings of that research.

The research consisted of individual depth interviews with 24 GB domestic energy consumers, alongside 2 online focus groups with 8 GB domestic energy consumers. The interviews and focus groups took place between 24 May and 8 June 2023.

This research explored:

  • Consumers’ experiences and expectations when contacting their energy supplier, and seeking support
  • Participants’ core needs in the context of contacting energy suppliers and for those that are struggling to pay their bill
  • Views on policy ideas for (a) improving contact ease (b) supporting consumers struggling with their bills (c) improving supplier incentives to drive improvements in customer service.

Ofgem has today published a statutory consultation on reforms to supply licence conditions that we are considering with the aim of improving customer service standards for consumers. These reforms focus on contact ease and the advice and support provided to consumers when struggling to pay their energy bills.

The findings from this research engaging directly with GB domestic consumers, along with consulting industry, consumer groups, wider stakeholders and other data sources have helped to inform the development of these reforms.