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A flexible future: extending the benefits of energy flexibility to more people

23 August 2023

Achieving the government’s net zero commitments will require households and businesses to be more flexible with the times they use electricity. To rise to this challenge, the products and services that companies develop and sell to us, such as time-of-use tariffs and smart appliances, will need to be accessible and appealing to more people.

At Citizens Advice, we believe that a successful net zero transition must be one that is fair and inclusive. Building a market for energy flexibility with fairness and inclusion at its core will not only help people to lower their energy bills and cope with the cost of living, it will help companies’ products and services to reach more people and make their business more financially viable and scalable.

In A flexible future [ 2.2 mb], we share new research unpacking the barriers that many households are likely to face to participating in energy flexibility. We amplify their voices, highlighting the compounding nature of many of their barriers and sharing their views on potential solutions. We find a positive appetite among stakeholders from the smart energy and accessibility sectors for more support, guidance and funding for industry to develop easy-to-use products and inclusive consumer experiences.

The government rightly recognises that it needs to support people with barriers to taking part in and benefiting from energy flexibility. We need to see a clear plan for how this will be achieved, focusing on 3 main outcomes:

  • better information

  • appropriate regulation

  • inclusive innovation

We’ve set out our reasoning and proposed actions to help achieve each of these.

This report sits alongside Powering up participation [ 1.5 mb], our guide to making smart energy technology more inclusive.

These reports are based on 2 stages of research conducted by Collaborate Research. You can find their research reports here: Barriers to participation in smart home technology [ 0.63 mb] and Barriers to changing energy usage behaviour to participate in domestic energy flexibility [ 1.4 mb].