Research carried out by Brandwatch, a social media and monitoring company, has revealed a huge increase in the number of Twitter users discussing the energy market.
In total, 152,561 comments about the big six energy companies –British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON UK, npower, ScottishPower and SSE – were made in October. This represents a staggering increase of 195%, compared to the previous month.
Although most tweets were simply communicating the fact price rises were set to take place, 11,490, or 7%, of all mentions were negative.
Energy companies targeted
Of the big six, ScottishPower received the highest percentage of negative comments about its service offering (13%), followed by British Gas and npower.
E.ON, the only big six supplier yet to announce a price rise, received the least amount of negative comments, with just 652. It is worth adding that this could change if the provider raises gas and electricity prices in the coming weeks, as many industry analysts predict.
The study also found that London residents are the most likely to take to Twitter to complain. The British capital was followed by Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow.
Energy industry acknowledges need to win back trust
The study is backed up by a recent survey which revealed energy companies are amongst the least liked firms in the UK. Just 28% of respondents said they viewed energy companies in a positive light.
These findings were echoed by Energy Secretary Ed Davey who called for the big six to be more transparent.
At this week’s Energy UK Conference, Davey highlighted the issue of trust and said: “Trust between those who supply energy and those who use it is breaking down.”
‘Some industries are more prone to criticism than others’
Joel Windels, EMEA Marketing Manager of Brandwatch, said: “Some industries are more prone to criticism than others simply by the sheer nature of what they sell. Like the telecoms sector, energy companies regularly face disgruntled customers, and social media networks like Twitter can sometimes serve to amplify that.
“Energy companies need to be listening and analysing the chatter happening online every day in order to gain deeper insights into consumer reactions and behaviours.”