Key learning from the CEC trial:

  • Attributable demand reduction in excess of 10% on selected substations provides a benchmark for what can be achieved through focused community engagement;
  • The unifying force for behaviour changes within both communities was not about saving money, not about saving the planet, but the idea of being part of a caring, connected community;
  • Addressing the issue of ‘Energy Literacy’ was essential once customers appreciated the significance of peak demand (4-8pm), the novel ‘shift’ message became compelling;
  • The principle of working initially with the communities unconditionally on their own terms was perceived positively as the Network Operator ‘Earning the Right’ to present its own energy agenda;
  • Messenger identity is key – 20% of households responded positively to a direct invitation from the Network Operator to get involved in the project, compared to over 50% when invited to take energy saving actions through locally branded initiatives;
  • Stakeholder partners including other utilities and local councils have committed to maintaining the legacy of the project by using this approach elsewhere;
  • Food played an important role in drawing people into conversations about energy, whilst focussing on saving time (as well as energy) helped break down the barriers to changing established cooking routines;
  • In both communities the impact of the project has been viewed as transformational with a wide range of positive social impacts being delivered alongside the energy message.