The Scottish Energy Strategy aims to: strengthen the development of local energy; protect and empower consumers; and support Scotland’s climate change ambitions while tackling poor energy provision.
One of its priorities is to promote consumer engagement and protect consumers from excessive or avoidable costs. It also aims to promote the benefits of smarter domestic energy applications and systems for all consumers.

The Scottish Government commissioned several linked research projects to support its work on promoting consumer engagement and protecting consumers as part of Scotland’s low-carbon transition.

The programme of work, completed in 2019, consisted of:

  1. Reviewing current approaches aimed at identifying groups of energy consumers in the UK.
  2. Developing an approach to identifying specific groups of energy consumers, identifying eight specific groups or archetypes.
  3. Reviewing forthcoming changes in energy policy to identify those changes likely to impact on energy consumers. These changes were grouped into policy changes associated with:
    • smart energy; 
    • decarbonising energy supply; and 
    • energy efficiency.
  4. Considering the implications of a subset of these policy changes for each specific energy consumer group to highlight how they may impact differently on each consumer group.

The research highlighted that the energy policy landscape is changing significantly, and that forthcoming changes in energy policy are likely to impact on consumers in a variety of ways. The impacts of specific changes in energy policy on each of these groups of consumers can be modelled. Among other things, we model the implications of a switch to time of use (TOU) tariffs; increased uptake of electric vehicles (EVs); and the future for domestic heat pumps and solar photovoltaics (PV) systems for different consumer groups. Overall, the modelling shows that those with higher incomes are more likely to participate in the evolving smart energy market and benefit from new technologies and energy market solutions, raising equity and distributive concerns.

Our research outputs comprise five reports including a summary report which gives an overview of the project and the main findings.