The world’s energy consumers—70% of them—have met with sustainable-choice-fatigue, telling Ernst & Young (EY) they won’t spend more time or money to take action, the firm reported Feb. 8 from its recent study findings. 

Among those surveyed, 65% said that while they know how to start making sustainable energy choices, they won’t. 

Contributing to this are higher energy prices, geopolitical volatility and growing concerns of energy equity, said Greg Guthridge, an EY global energy and resources group leader.

The three-year survey was of nearly 100,000 residential energy consumers in 21 markets: the U.S. and Canada; Brazil; Europe (11 countries); Australia; and Asia (China, Japan and four others). Nearly all are members of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).

“Consumers are less confident in their energy future than they were a year ago,” EY reported. “Many say the energy system just isn’t delivering on the three fundamental aspects of the energy experience: affordability, access and appeal.”

Approximately 70% doubt or are uncertain that their energy costs will remain affordable and 72% reported they can’t pay 10% more.

EY also said consumers are “often irrational” in addition to being diverse.

New-energies suppliers need to sell the technology better, it concluded. “Creating ‘appeal’ means understanding the complicated drivers of human behavior.”

Additional findings: 77% want low-cost options alongside high-end options; 67% want personalized solutions; and 18% would sign up if purchase and installation were easier.

“Change is accelerating exponentially across the world’s multiple energy transitions. Disruption to the energy industry is increasing,” Guthridge said.  

“And at the heart of this is the consumer,” he said. “The EY research shows consumers are interested about the potential of change but want partners to help.”

Survey participants ranged from homeowners to renters and Boomers to Gen Z.

EY reported that its average Energy Consumer Confidence Index (ECCI) score fell 4 points to 58.7 this past year.

“Even those [markets] most advanced in their energy transition journeys—as measured by the World Economic Forum Energy Transition Index—are experiencing wavering confidence, likely due to higher energy prices, inflation and—for some groups—a feeling of being left behind,” EY reported.

Ernst & Young's 2023 Energy Consumer Confidence Index (ECCI) findings. (Source: Ernst & Young)

Most confident are consumers in China (76.0 score); least confident, Japan (43.3).

In the U.S., the ECCI score was 56.9—less than the global average.

Seven European countries were below average; the other four were slightly above average. Poland was the most optimistic among them, scoring 63.1; the Netherlands, the least, scoring 50.0.