Consumers Trust Energy Providers to Safeguard Personal Data

In today’s digital world of connected devices, energy consumers are nearly twice as likely to trust their energy providers to safeguard their personal data than to advise them on energy consumption, according to new research by Accenture.

Accenture’s Energy Consumer: Unleashing Business Value in a Digital World report found that 65% of consumers showed confidence in their energy provider to secure and protect their personal data and information about their energy usage. This rose to 76% among regular users of digital channels. In contrast, only 36% said that they trust their energy provider to inform them about actions they can take to optimize their energy use.

“As energy and everyday devices become increasingly connected, an unprecedented amount of personal information about consumers’ habits and their households is becoming available, magnifying the importance of digital trust,” said Tony Masella, global managing director of Accenture Energy Consumer Services.

Highlighting this level of digital trust among energy consumers, almost two-thirds (61%) of respondents said they would be comfortable with their energy provider sharing their data with third parties, although in most cases only with prior permission. In addition, about the same number (62%) said they would allow their energy provider’s mobile application to access their location information, regardless of whether to provide outage information or to inform them about promotions.

 “In addition to ensuring customers’ confidence in their data privacy, energy providers can use this information to develop more personalized products and services,” Masella said. “In fact, they must do this to remain competitive, given that barriers to entry are coming down and utilities must now compete with start-up digital retailers and new entrants from other industries, which are offering new and bundled solutions and services.”

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