Power Shift Evidence
The following outlines the research reports and milestones that helped build the Power Shift evidence base, including contributing to the tools for policy-makers.
Research into the Drivers and Benefits of Changing Energy Use
Driving Change is the meta-analysis of the outcomes produced through the LIEEP pilots and was authored by the Group of Energy Efficiency Researchers Australia (GEER). The program underlined the value of delivering information through a trusted voice – noting that projects were more likely to succeed where they were tailored to fit the lifestyles and values of participants, were trusted by participants, drew from an evidence base, balanced project with participant needs, and were appropriately resourced Driving Change outlines a program delivery framework to guide other energy management programs through recruitment, engagement, education and outcomes.
Link between energy, housing and health
The LIEEP projects demonstrated the impact of homes with poor thermal efficiency on energy usage. For the people living in those houses, their lives can be grim.
Working with a coalition of stakeholders, we convened a Housing Summit in September 2018, inviting consumer and community organisations as well as industry and government who had been working on those issues in their jurisdictions to come together.
At the Summit, the CEOs of a number of consumer and community organisations called for a comprehensive national strategy to improve the energy performance standards of all Australian homes. That group subsequently formed the Healthy and Affordable Homes Coalition which continues to work together.
Energy Ministers agreed to a trajectory to raise energy performance standards for new housing from 2022, as well as to cooperate to improve the energy performance of some 10 million existing homes.
Engagement in the LIEEP trials reduced participants’ stress and anxiety levels, and they reported positive improvements to their levels of knowledge, confidence and self-efficacy Empowering Low Income Households, GEER’s analysis of the LIEEP outcomes, identified a range of ‘co-benefits’ for which they had no common measure. The GEER analysis also highlighted other, broader benefits to giving households more control over their bills.
Household sentiment and behaviour
While the focus of Power Shift was on vulnerable and low-income consumers, we realised early on that there were lessons for how all households could benefit from managing their energy use and controlling their costs.
Through our biannual Energy Consumer Sentiment Survey households are telling us that more can be done to improve their confidence in achieving better outcomes from energy markets.
We commissioned Back2Back Consulting to undertake an analysis of the ECSS data with the aim of further unpacking what it tells about the capacity and willingness of households, including those in financial stress or with low incomes, to manage their energy use.
Opportunities for innovation in energy services
A key focus of Power Shift was identifying the opportunities for market-led solutions.
Energy Consumers Australia commissioned The Brattle Group to do a scoping study to review similar markets where those services are already in place, and to talk to a small group of companies offering innovative energy services, who are currently active in, or had sought to enter the Australian market.
The report, Consumer Services in Electricity Markets provided new insights into the obstacles encountered by energy service providers.
Scoping an effective voluntary industry guideline
To enable a dialogue with energy companies about ‘better’ energy management services, we commissioned the Australian Energy Foundation to develop an approach to an effective voluntary industry guideline with the objective of helping households (including vulnerable households) to manage their energy usage and take control of their bills. AEF recommended for industry five areas of focus that would improve the customer experience and make a significant contribution to re-building trust and confidence in this market.
Australian Energy Foundation was engaged by Energy Consumers Australia to develop an approach to an effective voluntary industry guideline with the objective of helping households manage their energy usage and bills.
The challenges faced by Australian consumers in managing energy use and costs are similar in other countries. Like LIEEP, there have been substantive and innovative programs trialled. The Group of Energy Efficiency Researchers (GEER) found over 1,000 energy efficiency projects in Australia and across the world over the past decade.
The review Effectiveness of Household Energy Efficiency Interventions in Advanced Economies reinforced many of the findings from LIEEP, and most importantly consolidated the evidence that consumer-centred design must be the focus of energy management programs.
Effectiveness of Household Energy Efficiency Interventions in Advanced Economies
The project featured a systematic review of published household energy efficiency interventions in advanced economies to assess what works and what doesn’t work.
The findings add to the evidence base regarding the effectiveness of household energy efficiency interventions, and will help inform better policy, interventions and consumer advocacy to help Australian households achieve better energy and related co-benefit outcomes, and provide good return on investment.
How Power Shift helps navigate market transformation
Power Shift has played an important role in Energy Consumers Australia’s framing of the role of consumers in a transforming energy market, and the challenges they face.
We have reached a pivot point – where there is now the technological capacity to give consumers greater control over their usage and bills. This creates the opportunity in a transformed energy system for consumer participation in demand-side solutions, that mitigate the need for costly investment in long-lived assets on the supply side.
Power Shift’s insights into consumers underlines the need for those solutions to be described in terms that customers will value, and to which they can respond. How we frame that discussion is important.
Energy Consumers Australia’s Foresighting Forum 2018 theme was Take charge: Shifting power to consumers in the using, making and trading of energy to canvass those issues.
We also convened Innovation in Energy Services Workshops in Sydney in October and November 2018, with some 100 stakeholders from across the energy sector participating.
The first workshop “Consumer, prosumer and prosumanager” – how service innovation will disrupt the utility business models”, on 25 October 2018 was led Dr Fereidoon Sioshansi from Menlo Energy Economics, who is based in California. The presentations from Dr Sioshansi and the panel speakers are available below.
The second workshop “Consumer Reward Pricing – optimising energy use behaviour” was led by Dr Ahmad Faruqui of The Brattle Group, who is based in California. The presentations from Dr Faruqui and the panel speakers are available below.