Harnessing innovation to better understand and reduce vulnerability to fuel poverty, designing smarter policies, products, services and consumer protections
Innovating to end fuel poverty in vulnerable households
Fair Futures explores the opportunities for innovation to address fuel poverty, and better understand the issues faced by vulnerable energy consumer groups in the UK.
Fair Futures aims to identify the areas where commercial, governmental, community and household living needs and motivations could be aligned to provide more effective policies, products and services.
In order to understand how to design and deliver services to consumers facing difficulties with low household incomes and the high cost of adequate energy in their homes, Energy Systems Catapult is trying to better understand what people need and want from energy in their home.
This could decrease the risk of undertaking innovation, for both businesses and consumers, and could be applied to developing new propositions, improving customer handling procedures and meeting new policy obligations and changes.
Increase your market
Increase your consumer market by gaining greater insight of vulnerable customers’ needs and challenges when developing innovative new products and services.
Decrease the risk of undertaking innovation, when developing new propositions, improving customer handling procedures and meeting new policy obligations and changes.
How to work with us
Energy Systems Catapult provides technical, commercial and policy expertise to drive innovation across the whole energy system.
Our independent and technology-agnostic approach, has built a trusted track record in delivering thought leadership, collaborative R&D and commercial commissioning.
Providing a range of capabilities, tools and labs – from world class Net Zero modelling and cutting-edge systems engineering – through to digital and data science and real-world innovation trials that drive start-ups to success.
Supporting energy companies and networks, industrial sites and commercial businesses to navigate to Net Zero.
Collaborate with us
Supporting government, local authorities and innovators to create the new policies, markets, business models and technologies we need to deliver Net Zero.
Smarter Consumer Protections
Citizens Advice commissioned research from Energy Systems Catapult to understand the risks and opportunities involved in a smart energy future – and how consumer protection needs to evolve.
Smart energy – where digital controls and sensors help tailor energy provision for each specific household – has the potential to revolutionise how people buy energy and interact with suppliers.
Smarter protections: Potential risks for consumers in a smart energy future – explored the consumer issues through a short six week activity of desk based research, a workshop between Citizens Advice and Energy Systems Catapult and feedback from industry and policy stakeholders in the sector.
The research is now informing Citizens Advice’s approach to consumer protection so it can effectively advocate for consumers as smart energy evolves.
Following this work, the Energy Revolution integration Service funded the development of an interactive manual to provide energy innovators with clear, structured techniques to help consider consumer protection, whether you are designing a new innovation or already have the technology and service available.
Low Income and Vulnerable (LIV) consumers
The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), along with energy regulator Ofgem commissioned a study to review how innovation could enable low income and vulnerable (LIV) consumers to participate in a smart, flexible energy market.
This may include new technologies and appliances in consumers’ homes, access to smarter tariffs, interaction with a broader range of service providers and new infrastructure in their local area, such as: smart metering, demand-side flexibility, electric vehicles, electric heat pumps and domestic energy storage.
These changes to the energy system raise a core concern about whether low income and vulnerable consumers could be less willing and less able to access, purchase and use smart energy products and services.
The review summarised evidence to answer the following questions:
- How do low-income and vulnerable consumers participate in a smart energy market? What barriers prevent their participation?
- Does existing innovation activity help them engage in this market?
- How will new innovation activity ensure they are engaged in this market?
- How could innovation put them at the forefront of the smart energy transition?
- What risks could emerge when, and how could innovation prevent them?
- Where should future innovation focus?
Enabling Inclusive Innovation and Sustainable Choice
Energy Systems Catapult in partnership with the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RiDC) has been awarded funding for a programme to Enable Inclusive Innovation and Sustainable Choice.
The funding comes from the Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme, which are payments distributed from energy companies that may have breached rules. Projects must “support energy consumers in vulnerable situations”.
The Enabling Inclusive Innovation and Sustainable Choice programme will work with disabled and older consumers to deliver new research and assets that support the development of innovative, accessible smart and low carbon energy products and services, and to inform consumer and policy decision making.
The RiDC pan-disability consumer panel of over 2,500 people will deliver the research through a programme of six insight and test evaluation projects, including co-design workshops, accessibility and usability evaluations and mystery shopping.
This includes adding 50 new households with disabled consumers to Energy Systems Catapult’s real world test environment – the Living Lab – including developing co-design solutions that explore how the increasing electrification of heat and transport could result in new vulnerabilities emerging. Giving particular consideration to identifying potential changes to how those on the Priority Services Register might be best served.
Helping innovators decrease the risk of developing and commercialising innovative new products, services and business models.Contact us
Collaborate with us
Helping governments, regulators, businesses and consumer advocates to better understand and reduce vulnerability to fuel poverty, by designing smarter consumer protections for policies, regulations and innovations.Contact us