In order to meet the UK Government’s 2050 target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions, a raft of transformational initiatives covering all aspects of energy will be required. These initiatives will rely on consumers changing their energy related behaviour and in this regard and to ensure Ofgem can best support consumers, it is essential that it is Ofgem has a detailed understanding of consumer attitudes and behaviours in relation to decarbonisation.
In April 2020, Ofgem commission Impact to conduct qualitative research to address the following research objectives:
What we did
Impact ran a series of 10 focus groups. Due to the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the social distancing measures in place at the time, groups were moved from face to face to online with only 1 days’ notice as ‘lock down’ was announced.
Groups were held with a range of consumers in London, Bristol, Leeds and Edinburgh. Specifically:
- Those already using low carbon technology
- Affluent adults with no low carbon technology,
- Working parents
- Those living in a rural location
- Lower income
- Future bill payers.
The discussion guide concentrated on the following three areas, including additional group-specific questions, where relevant:
Despite the unusual circumstances in which the research was conducted, the online focus group approach was a complete success, with near full attendance across all groups, including those perhaps less inclined embrace digital technology and video conferencing (e.g. retirees).
The main research findings showed that: