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How to reach the hard-to-reach (energy users)?

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Energy efficiency is sometimes called "the greatest market failure of all times" - it makes so much sense, is imperative to achieve the energy transition affordably, and yet it remains difficult to achieve the energy efficiency potential that technological and policy innovations promise to deliver. Is this because our technological and policy advances fail to reach all energy users in the same way? We believe that there is a significant percentage of the human population who can be regarded as “hard-to-reach (HTR) energy users”. These are the people policymakers, utility programme managers and research experts often struggle to engage with when designing and rolling out technological and behavioural interventions. Their barriers and needs are different to those "lower hanging fruit" energy users we understand well. This HTR audience segment becomes even larger once we expand from hard-to-reach individuals and groups in the residential, to those in the non-residential, particularly the commercial sector – especially if we look across all fuels and energy services, including mobility. This, potentially very large energy user segment is the focus of this new research collaboration and we present our first findings in this webinar.

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How to reach the hard-to-reach (energy users)?

  1. 1. Dr Sea Rotmann, Operating Agent: HTR Energy Users Annex Hard-to-Reach Energy Users Annex Users Academy Webinar, April 7, 2020
  2. 2. 2 Our Shared Goal “Our shared goal is to identify, define, and prioritise HTR audiences; and design, measure and share effective strategies to engage those audiences to achieve energy, demand response and climate targets while meeting access, equity, and energy service needs.” https://userstcp.org/annex/hard-to-reach-energy-users/
  3. 3. 3 Webinar overview and objectives • Share findings on the HTR project to date • Gather input on HTR target audiences • How to overcome barriers to more effectively engage specific HTR audiences ⇒ Especially in response to COVID-19, including behavioural lessons to learn
  4. 4. 4 Quick Poll • Who is your top hard-to-reach (HTR) audience? • What is your second-ranked HTR choice? • What is your third HTR choice? Options: • Low income households / fuel poor • Small businesses • Physically isolated / remote energy users • Vulnerable (sick, disabled, non-native speakers, single parents etc.) • Very wealthy households • Building operators in commercial sector
  5. 5. 5
  6. 6. 6 Subtasks ST0 – Administration of HTR Annex ST1 – Expert network and dissemination ST2 – Definitions & case study analysis ST2a – International Publication on HTR ST3 – Research process to engage the HTR ST4 – Field research pilots
  7. 7. 7 Expert Network & Collaboration • BECC, BEHAVE, ECEEE & ACEEE conferences – Subtask 1 • Task 24 experts – from >30 top Universities & Research Institutes - Subtask 1 & 2 • UK Fuel poverty expert network – from >20 Institutions - Subtask 1 & 2 • See Change Institute – Behaviour Change Process – Subtask 3 • ParEvo Rick Davies - Storytelling & Evaluation - Subtask 3 • BC Hydro (CA) – Field Research Pilot & Literature Review – Subtasks 2 & 4 • IESO Ontario Systems Operator (CA) – Field Research Pilot - Subtask 4
  8. 8. 8 Our Working Definition of HTR “In this Annex, a hard-to-reach energy user is any energy user from the residential and non-residential sectors, who uses any type of energy or fuel, mobility and communications services, and who is typically either hard-to-reach physically, underserved, or hard to engage or motivate in behaviour change, energy efficiency and demand response interventions that are intended to serve our mutual needs.” https://userstcp.org/annex/hard-to-reach-energy-users/
  9. 9. 9 The Building Blocks of Behaviour Change explore landscape and connect stakeholders determine audience and behaviour goals develop and test content and delivery strategies launch and evaluate for ongoing learning AUDIENCE BEHAVIOR CONTENT DELIVERY EVALUATE
  10. 10. 10 Our research approach • Discover needs & opportunities - set shared goal/s • Define target Audience & Behaviour/s - identify the barriers & opportunities • Design Content & Delivery strategy based on social science - develop materials & pre-test them • Deploy pilot/s to engage priority HTR audiences - Evaluate impact & share successes DISCOVER DEFINE DESIGN DEPLOY
  11. 11. 11 DISCOVER explore landscape and connect stakeholders determine audience and behavior goals develop and test content and delivery strategies launch and evaluate for ongoing learning AUDIENCE BEHAVIOR CONTENT DELIVERY EVALUATE
  12. 12. 12 US & Canadian utilities • Regulated, often monopolies • Investor-owned (U.S.), Government-owned (CAN) • Motivations for EE programmes ■ More cost-effective than building new power plants ■ Mandates and regulations for EE generally • Funding for EE programmes ■ U.S.: ratepayer, CAN: tax-payer
  13. 13. 13 New Zealand Perspective • Particularly unhealthy housing infrastructure • Several national policies to improve health, comfort & EE • Highly deregulated utility sector • High inequality between industrial & commercial vs residential pricing • Electricity Price Review to tackle energy hardship with short-, medium- and long-term recommendations https://www.mbie.govt.nz/assets/electricity-price-review-final-report.pdf
  14. 14. 14 Swedish Perspective EE motivations: • EU climate targets (e.g. 20% improvement in EE by 2020) • ↓ Fossil fuel dependency: carbon neutral economy by 2045 • ↑ Economy’s competitiveness/efficiency Main EE policies: • Taxes/subsidies, labelling, codes • Behaviour mostly confined to experimental settings in utilities / academia
  15. 15. 15 UK Perspective • Energy legally recognised as essential service (OFGEM is the regulator) • EE programme responsibility on energy companies • Energy Company Obligation (ECO): funded by levies on energy companies (paid for by their customers); focus on low income, vulnerable and fuel poor • Large energy suppliers must promote measures for these households to heat their homes via EE interventions and heating system replacement • Cold weather payments - one-off payment to over 65s to help with winter fuel bills (but has freerider issues)
  16. 16. 16 DISCOVER: What have we learned so far? What are our participants’ goals? Meet energy efficiency spending and savings goals Increase programme participation by HTR users Improve equity / energy justice / energy affordability / energy access Better conceptualise & frame the HTR narrative; beyond energy poverty Better understand HTR segments internationally Assess/learn behavioural-oriented policy interventions to address HTR DISCOVER
  17. 17. DEFINE explore landscape and connect stakeholders determine audience and behavior goals develop and test content and delivery strategies launch and evaluate for ongoing learning AUDIENCE BEHAVIOR CONTENT DELIVERY EVALUATE
  18. 18. 18 DEFINE Audience & Barriers • Who are your HTR audiences? • Why do you think these groups are HTR? • What behaviours are most relevant for this group? • What barriers exist that prevent their engagement?
  19. 19. 19 Quick Poll - Findings
  20. 20. 20 SURVEY: Residential Sector findings Sources: 2019 HTR Annex Survey, eceee Summer Study informal poll during kick-off session
  21. 21. 21 SURVEY: Commercial sector findings Sources: 2019 HTR Annex Survey, eceee Summer Study informal poll during kick-off session
  22. 22. 22 More granular findings (US / CA) Sources: CEE 2019 HTR Annex Survey, 2019 HTR Annex Workshop, 2019-2020 stakeholder interviews, and CEE member meetings.
  23. 23. 23 More granular findings (NZ) Sources: CEE 2019 HTR Annex Survey, 2019-2020 stakeholder interviews with NZ experts.
  24. 24. 24 DEFINE: What have we learned so far? Most commonly-mentioned HTR audiences RES: Low-income, rural, renters, non-native speakers, indigenous, very wealthy COMM: Small (to medium) businesses, landlords, building operators What key barriers exist? Trust / mistrust of authorities Language and energy literacy issues Reaching & engaging property owners / split incentives Cultural barriers Conflicting priorities / don’t care DEFINE
  25. 25. 25 NEXT STEPS ➢Summary report from survey data & stakeholder interviews ➢Literature Review ➢Development of HTR Audience Characterisations ➢Case study analysis ➢Field research pilots
  26. 26. 26
  27. 27. 27 COVID-19 & Climate Change 1. Common causes: Habitat destruction leads to both climate breakdown and pandemics. 2. Health inequity: Health systems are unprepared for global crises, increasing vulnerability. 3. Systems change: Solutions for climate justice & health equity: resilience, mitigation & leadership. Specific concerns for the HTR Annex: 🡺🡺 Importance of behaviour change in global crises & to protect the most vulnerable 🡺🡺 Usefulness of behavioural and social science in messaging HTR audiences 🡺🡺 Difficulty of changing habits except in: MOMENTS of CHANGE / Disruption 🡺🡺 Importance of trust in science & trusted messengers like public health professionals 🡺🡺 Co-benefits of energy efficiency & conservation 🡺🡺 Embedding long-term behavioural and systems change 🡺🡺 Transition to sustainable energy system
  28. 28. 28 Why do we respond more to COVID-19 than climate change? • Energy consumption is invisible & abstract1 • It doesn’t violate our social sensibilities • It is low on our priority list • Impacts from fossil-fuel energy use are global & in the future • Systemic changes are hard and complex, need global cohesion & have no end in sight • Energy efficiency & conservation are not high priorities 1Karlin, Zinger and Ford (2015).
  29. 29. 29 Why behaviour change is hard but essential • Why is there such an energy efficiency gap?1 • Why do we put so much more emphasis & funding into technology than people?2 • Why do we focus our main policy interventions around the deficit model / rational choice theory?3 • Why are (energy) habits the hardest to change?4 🡺🡺 MOMENTS OF CHANGE or DISRUPTION 1Gillingham & Palmer (2014). Bridging the Energy Efficiency Gap: Policy Insights from Economic Theory and Empirical Evidence 2Overland & Sovacool (2020). The misallocation of climate research funding. 3Simis et al (2016). The lure of rationality: Why does the deficit model persist in science communication? 4Darnton, et al (2011). Habits, Routines and Sustainable Lifestyles
  30. 30. 30 Moments of change1 1 Gollwitzer & Sheeran 2008; Verplanken, Walker, Davis & Jurasek 2008; Thompson et al 2011; Bamberg 2006 2 Michie 2020 3 http://www.g-feed.com/2020/03/covid-19-reduces-economic-activity.html 1. Main driver for pandemic response is behaviour change 2. 13 behaviours were targeted with messaging campaigns2 3. Particularly, self isolation & social distancing led to huge changes in travel behaviour 4. This led to massive reduction in air pollution3 but also loneliness, increase in domestic violence, unemployment… 5. Finding moments of change & trusted messengers is key
  31. 31. 31 COVID-19 lessons for the HTR Annex • This is the biggest, global Moment of Change we have seen yet • Rapid, massive behaviour change responses have been shown to work • Trust in science and public health authorities is high • But… we need to be careful not to overhype behavioural science1 • We are targeting some of the same energy behaviours for the HTR (e.g. reduced flying & commuting, teleworking…) • Others can help improve health & resilience but after the lockdown (e.g. insulation, weatherisation, clean heating, switch to renewables…) • We need to focus on the co-benefits of EE & C (improved health & comfort, green jobs, resilience, cheaper utility bills…) ⇒ What happens next will determine our future. 1 https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/13/why-is-the-government-relying-on-nudge-theory-to-tackle-coronavirus
  32. 32. 32 Please contact me with questions, ideas, feedback Dr. Sea Rotmann drsearotmann@gmail.com @DrSeaRotmann Dr Sea Rotmann DrSea Rotmann

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