Integrating electricity, heat and transport systems at a local level is a radical departure from the typical UK energy system as experienced by the general population. Trust in utility companies is generally low and until now people have played a passive role in energy systems. Incorrect assumptions about public knowledge and capacity for engagement are predominate.
Local energy systems that are smart provide new possibilities for people as consumers, energy citizens, users and prosumers who are able to play much more active role in energy 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 is using new engagement methods to reveal how user preferences and practices evolve over time in demonstrator projects, tracking impacts and evaluating outcomes.
Find out more about our work on User Behaviour and Preferences; and User Influence Tools.