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Smarter protections: using field trials to explore how people understand energy as a service

10 May 2019

The market to supply smarter energy products and services to domestic consumers is still in its infancy. The early perceptions and experiences people have will affect uptake and confidence in new models.

This exploratory report [ 0.93 mb], commissioned by Citizens Advice and delivered by the Energy Systems Catapult, considers people's understanding of purchasing and experiencing energy as a service and in particular, heat as a service. It highlights aspects where consumers needed further support.

In particular, we find:

  • the transition from kilowatt hours to 'warm hours' was difficult for some, especially when they had to compare prices with traditional models

  • some did not fully understand the details of the energy offer before they had experienced it and there was evidence that problems may only emerge as the service is used over time

  • within the trial, consumers were comfortable with sharing their data but when probed did not know who accessed their data, how often and how to change their data sharing preferences

  • consumers did not always know who would have been responsible if something went wrong