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ESC show how heat services benefit consumers

Sam Peek Analyst

In August, Energy Systems Catapult (ESC) published three insight papers as part of the Smart Systems and Heat Programme. The series is based upon tests undertaken in ESC’s Living Lab, a place where innovators can test new products, services and business models in up to 100 real-world homes. The first of the three reports, Industry Insight – From Kilowatt-hours to Warm Hours, investigates alternative methods of selling heat to customers. The study identified that the majority of customers do not understand the cost of heating within a monthly energy bill. Many customers were uncomfortable with the concept of kWhs as a measurement of heat usage, despite currently purchasing energy on this volumetric approach. They were receptive to the concept of purchasing “warm hours”: a set period where a consumer’s household is heated to a specified temperature, in return for a fixed price. This concept was better understood and allowed for greater consumer control over heat spend. The second paper, Heat Plans – Made to Measure, set out consideration for energy suppliers looking to sell consumers heat-as-a-service. Consumers were found to value the simplicity of “Heat Plans” with packages of warm hours. The element of consumer control in creating these plans was also well received by customers and this subsequently made consumers more receptive to different types of Heat Plans, such as “pay as you go”. The third report, The Delight of Better Control, discusses how digital and smart technologies can provide ...

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