Page 22 - European Energy Innovation - Summer 2017 publication
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22        Summer 2017 European Energy Innovation



OBJECTIVES                                    using ‘Natural Language’ –                technical language, and should
The residential sector accounts for a         communication which is friendly,          be communicated in a friendly,
quarter of all energy consumption in          emotionally intelligent, relevant and     emotionally intelligent way. In order
the EU. Reducing household energy             simple. The NATCONSUMERS tool is          to communicate in Natural Language,
use across Europe is therefore critical       designed to raise awareness about         we must ensure advice is both relevant
to efforts to cut carbon emissions.           how people use energy within their        and interesting to consumers. When
However, altering the ways in which           homes, and to give them advice about      determining what the content of a
people use energy within their homes          how to use energy more sustainably.       message should be, we must consider
is difficult. It is not easy to change long-   Capitalising on the roll-out of smart-    the household’s context to ensure the
established habits, nor is it easy to target  metering across Europe, the project       advice provided is relevant to them.
such a diverse population in order to         utilises smart-meter data to provide      When determining how the message
help these changes come about.                tailored advice to householders.          should be communicated, we must
                                                                                        understand the consumer’s attitudes
Previous efforts to communicate               TAILORING THE ADVICE                      and values, to allow the message to
with consumers have been very                 The underlying premise which              be framed in terms which will be of
much focused on price or simplistic           NATCONSUMERS is built upon is             interest.
comparisons as means to motivate              that for energy efficiency advice
changes in consumption. These                 to be truly effective, it must be         In order to achieve this, within
approaches are focused primarily              tailored. Tailored advice has been        NATCONSUMERS we have created
on information provision, on the              found, through multiple studies, to       three segmentation models. The
assumption that all humans are                be much more effective than more          first utilises smart-meter data to
‘rational actors’ who will respond            generic recommendations. Variations       categorise consumers based upon
to financial drivers. Through the              in consumers’ characteristics and         their electricity load profile – i.e. based
NATCONSUMERS project however                  behaviours lead to heterogeneous          on their patterns of energy usage over
we have taken a new approach, based           energy demands, influenced by both         time. This allows us to identify typical
around understanding householders             individual preferences and physical       electricity usage profiles. The second
as individual people, rather than as          variables. As such, if we are to change   segmentation is based on socio-
homogenous, energy consuming                  these energy demands, our advice          demographics. This has been used
agents. We thought we needed to start         must be similarly heterogeneous to        to investigate how much electricity
a conversation with the end customer.         ensure it is relevant and actionable for  households use, or the total ‘volume’
It’s not about dictating to them and          the consumer in question.                 of consumption. Combined, these
ordering people to do things, it’s about                                                two segmentations allow us to paint a
creating a conversation.                      Moreover, advice must also be             picture of a user’s overall energy usage,
                                              presented to consumers in Natural         in terms of both patterns and quantities
To do this, the NATCONSUMERS                  Language. This means that advice          of use. Subsequently, this allows
project has developed a methodology           messages should be easy to                for users to be compared to other
for communicating with consumers              understand, avoiding jargon or            households with the same profile, i.e.
                                                                                        comparison to a benchmark segment.
The flowchart of segmentation                                                            The results of these two segmentations
                                                                                        help to determine the content of advice
Consumer  Smart            Smart              Database   Load Profile    Benchmark      messages – they allow us to identify
          Meter             Data                        Segmentation       Groups       what subject matter will be relevant to
                                                                                        each household.
          !                   Socio-                        Socio-       What to say
                         Demographics                   Demographic                     The third segmentation has been
           Data                                         Segmentation                    constructed from a survey of
          Privacy                                                                       consumers’ attitudes and values. From
                                                                                        this, we can identify what interests each
              Online     Appliances                                                     householder – for example, are they
          Questionnaire                                                                 interested in saving money, protecting
                                                                                        the environment, making their home
                         Attitude                         Attitudinal                   more comfortable, etc. – and can
                                                         Classification                 therefore re-frame the message in

                                                        What to say

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