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Consumer First The Energy Efficiency Commitment 4 th September 2007 Maxine Frerk.

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Presentation on theme: "Consumer First The Energy Efficiency Commitment 4 th September 2007 Maxine Frerk."— Presentation transcript:

1 Consumer First The Energy Efficiency Commitment 4 th September 2007 Maxine Frerk

2 2 Consumer First What is it? Work to date The future?

3 3 Consumer Engagement Need to ensure we continue to capture domestic consumer interest Comparison with I&C relationships (SMUG/LUG/SBUG) energywatch demise Issues becoming more complex with rise of sustainability agenda

4 4 Research so far… Best Practice Review (HenleyVisionHeadlightCentre) Environmental Research (Stimulating World) -(pilot of new research technique)

5 5 Summarising the Henley Recommendations Strategic assessment of need for insight Improved approach to consultation Understanding the basic demographics Getting a deeper understanding (‘the soft stuff’) Anticipating future trends Developing an initial programme Building insight into the way we work, from the top down

6 6 Environmental Research Overall objective –Understand consumer attitudes to energy and environmental matters With particular regard to:- –Consumers’ awareness of environmental issues –Consumers’ views on actions to tackle impact of energy on the environment –Types of action, responsibility for action, costs of action –Consumers’ willingness to pay for measures to tackle climate change

7 7 The deliberative method A deliberative methodology involves bringing together between 20 and 200 citizens to deliberate on key issues of concern. Deliberative research is being used more and more to: –Inform citizens –Show transparency –Expose people to a wider range of viewpoints –Generate more effective communications –Map shifts in opinion and what is causing this

8 8 Method and sample A two stage deliberative consultation was used: Stage 1 - three initial workshops of two hours duration to benchmark spontaneous thoughts and feelings about the issues –With twenty citizens recruited according to UK socio-demographic breakdown –In three locations - London, Bristol, Glasgow Interim period participants were provided with: –Information pack with fact sheets on climate change, energy sources and energy efficient measures –Pre-task to complete - collect articles/cuttings from newspapers/magazines/internet to bring to reconvened sessions Stage 2 – three full day reconvened workshops to elicit more informed responses –With same twenty citizens in the same locations

9 9 Findings from initial workshops Participants were largely aware of the relationship between energy and climate change Most took this seriously but some doubted its validity Industry was seen as the primary cause of pollution and global warming Growing emphasis on energy saving in the home with participants trying to ‘do their bit’ No knowledge of Government or supplier schemes Participants felt that responsibility for energy efficiency measures should rest on Government’ shoulders (also concerns about the nanny state) Cost emerged as a major theme (suppliers’ profits, costs to consumers) A general feeling of pessimism and loss of control in the face of climate change

10 10 Findings from reconvened workshops Participants had shifted their perspectives on some crucial issues Many had become more sceptical that global warming was a very serious issue (media coverage claiming that it was a natural occurrence) They accepted that human influence was responsible for the acceleration of climate change A heightened awareness of consumers’ role in creating emissions (acknowledging that industry is not the main polluter) Greater awareness that current energy resources would run out and a resultant desire to be more energy efficient Surprise and relief that the Government and industry were implementing energy efficient measures Also a strong sense of distrust and anger that the public had not been adequately informed of these measures and cynicism around Government’s motives

11 11 Findings from reconvened workshops (2) A feeling that consumers should take more responsibility for implementing energy efficiency measures All parties - Government, industry and consumers - should play their parts responsibly A strong sense that renewable energy should be developed A feeling of victimisation around the issue of cost for these measures Participants’ sense of fairness and responsibility - willingness to pay their share

12 12 ‘It’s a con’ Suspicious Blaming Government and industry DISILLUSIONED ‘ We must do something’ Self assured/directed Taking action voluntarily Save the planet SAVERS Who can I believe? Confused/feel powerless Sceptical Open to persuasion Likely to shift position SHIFTERS ‘ It’s electioneering, profiteering’ Sophisticated theories Abandoned hope of transparency Withdrawing WITHDRAWERS The majority of participants More aware Less aware

13 13 More aware Less aware Nothing Government and industry should shoulder the cost DISILLUSIONED £ 50 -100+ per year The cost is not excessive in the bigger scheme of things Also voluntarily taking out green tariffs SAVERS Between £15 - £50 per year Depending on my personal circumstances Depending on how much I am persuaded SHIFTERS Nothing/up to £15 per year A scam but I will pay something WITHDRAWERS

14 14 Willingness to pay for energy efficiency measures A strong sense that Government and suppliers should bear much of the cost Much distrust around stealth taxes and worries about where the money would go An acceptance that consumers are also citizens and will have to shoulder some of the burden of payment Feeling uncomfortable and burdened in the perceived absence of vision and leadership The amount they were prepared to pay varied by profile We will use this to argue for greater transparency about the costs, for example via the customers bill

15 15 Future Research Options Green tariffs? Energy efficiency –barriers to take-up? Switching by PPM / vulnerable customers?

16 16 Conclusion Ofgem looking to make more use of deliberative and other techniques –to make more use of publicly available information –spell out consumer impacts on consultation New Head of Consumer and Social Policy starting 1 October to help drive this through

17 17

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