Research published on consumer barriers to engaging in the energy transition

Today the Utility Regulator publishes a report on recent follow-on qualitative research that was undertaken to develop a more in-depth insight into the different barriers consumers encounter to participating in the transition to net zero, through adoption of energy efficiency measures and low carbon technologies. This follows on from a previous report published in June 2021 that included survey results of NI energy consumers’ understanding, views and opinions on various aspects of climate change and the transition to de-carbonising energy use in NI. 

The report published today, includes research gathered from interviews with key expert stakeholders as well as focus groups with consumers from across NI.

The objectives for undertaking this research were to:

  • Develop an enhanced understanding of any barriers NI consumer encounter to engaging in the transition to net zero energy;
  • Understand the forms of support required to enable consumers to overcome these barriers;
  • Understand the circumstances in which different groups of consumers face barriers which they have not been able to overcome; and
  • Identify recommendations for how the Utility Regulator and Department for the Economy (DfE) can ensure consumers are protected as the work of the Energy Strategy develops and decarbonisation is pursued.

Adopting this approach facilitated the identification of barriers that are unique to consumers from a range of different ages, locations, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

This research provides in-depth, evidence based, insight and recommendations for policy makers in NI; and will inform the ongoing work of the new DFE Energy Strategy on enabling and protecting consumers to participate in the transition to net zero, and the development of future regulatory frameworks within the Utility Regulator.

A presentation on the key findings has also been published.

Any comments or queries in relation to this paper should be made to Liam Gault.