Integrating electricity, heat and transport systems at a local level is a radical departure from conventional consumer experience. Generally, consumers have low levels of trust in utility companies and play a passive role in energy markets. Incorrect assumptions about public knowledge and capacity for engagement predominate.
Local energy systems that are smart open up new possibilities for consumers as energy citizens, users and prosumers who can play much more active roles in service provision. Aspirations to revolutionise the current system must take into account local, regional and cultural disparities in productivity and competitiveness to ensure opportunities are maximised in an inclusive way.
The Users Theme will use new methods to reveal how user preferences and practices evolve over time in demonstrator projects, tracking impacts and evaluating outcomes.