Assistance, honesty and protection key to achieving the energy transition
New research published by the Consumer Council, reveals that people will need assistance, honesty, and protection, in exchange for taking part in the energy transition.
Published recently, ‘Consumer attitudes to protection during energy decarbonisation’ summarises findings from consumer focus groups held earlier this year.
Director of Infrastructure and Sustainability at the Consumer Council, Peter McClenaghan said:
“Research of this type deepens our understanding of consumers’ lived experience and attitudes to decarbonisation.
“Such understanding is essential if we are to put in place the necessary support structures needed to achieve Northern Ireland’s net zero target.”
Achieving net zero goals will require people to make significant behaviour change to reduce carbon emissions. Most of us will need to change how we heat our homes, travel, shop, and perhaps even adapt our diets.
“For some of us, these changes will not be affordable without help, for others, they may not be palatable, and for many of us, they will not be easy,” said Peter.
Consumer Council discussions with local people about the energy transition has revealed that some themes are consistently arising with consumers. These are the need for protection, honesty and assistance in the form of education, affordability, and simplicity.
“There is a responsibility on energy sector leaders, government, policy makers, regulators, energy suppliers and equipment installers, to empower consumers to make the necessary changes in our daily lives that enable us to reduce our household carbon emissions,” said Peter.
“Our research shows that many of us are willing to accept some cost but expect honesty in return.
“The research also reveals that consumers want energy transition leaders and decision-makers to be straight, open, and transparent with them about the tough choices that may have to be made.
“The overriding message coming from our Consumer Forum participants is that consumer protection is vital.
“Without adequate consumer protection we will not achieve our decarbonisation goals but protect consumers and their confidence will drive the new domestic market in renewable heat and power,” he added.