Consumers at the Heart of the Energy System?


Phil New, our chief executive, will be speaking in the first Plenary Session at the British Institute of Energy Economics conference, ‘Consumers at the Heart of the Energy System?’. Matthew Lipson, our business leader of consumer insights, will be participating in a Dialogue Session.

Energy consumers in the industrial age have typically been passive actors. Both businesses and household consumers have flicked switches or started engines without wanting to know much about where their energy comes from, provided that it is available when they want it and it doesn’t cost too much. But this characteristic of energy use is changing and may be about to change dramatically. With the emergence of advanced technology, ‘smart’ consumers can potentially make more informed choices about when and how much energy they use and ultimately become ‘prosumers’ – energy producers and storers – themselves. But will consumers embrace new approaches to energy, what wider benefits could be delivered, and how can any challenges be met?

  • Day one: In the Plenary Session at 11am, discussions will look at how consumers’ relationship with energy is changing, how this might evolve in the future, and what can be learnt from the experiences of other countries and market sectors. It will assess what consumers stand to gain or lose from playing a more active role in the energy system, and how far they will actually engage.
  • Day two: In a Paper Session at 11.30am, Matthew will be discussing experimenting with Heat Plans to discover how to help businesses and governments harness energy services to build an energy system people will want to pay for.

As part of the BIEE’s series of conference blogs, Matthew discussed the concept of energy (heat specifically) as a service and shared some of the findings from our Heat Plan trials.

Energy consumers in the industrial age have typically been passive actors but as the energy system transforms, as is consumer engagement and the choices available. Phil has written a series of articles for the World Economic Forum about putting consumers at the heart of the energy system. Catch up with the first, ‘Hot showers, warm drinks and heating – let’s talk about energy how consumers do‘.


Start date: 18 Sep 2018

Start time: 9am

End date: 19 Sep 2018

End time: 7pm

Location: Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford, OX2 6GG.