ESC finds benefit in heat plans for consumers

The Energy Systems Catapult (ESC) has found consumers prefer the idea of buying warm hours compared to kilowatt hours, owed to find the former much easier to understand.

On 6 August, it released the first of two insight papers, arguing the case for selling Heat Plans. Industry insight – From kilowatt hours to Warm Hours detailed how recent consumers had found customers were unable to understand areas such as how much it costs to heat their home for an hour, day or week, and how many hours they keep their home warm each week.

Through using data, the ESC offered them Heat Plans, where they could pay a fixed price to keep their home warm for a number of warm hours instead of kWh. Customers were found to prefer the idea due to factors such as greater understanding and a sense of feeling more in control of money being spent. Furthermore, the ESC noted many were happy to accept a cost increase for a Heat Plan as they valued the improved service.

On 8 August, it released a second insight paper, Heat Plans – Made to Measure, in which it outlined the benefits of Heat Plans and a guide to designing a service for customers. It recommended using data to learn what experience people really want; creating a service language people can understand, nothing how mobiles having texts and minutes was easier to understand than kilowatt hours, as illustrated by the warm hours approach; and to find ways of adding value to the core service. The ESC noted, by using usage data, consumer behaviour patterns breaking away from the norm can be seen and a possibly unmet need identified. It also stated consumers should be given control over which options they buy.

ESC (6 August)ESC (8 August)