Energy as a service, smart home opportunities and electrification of heat and transport can lead to new ways of switching supplier or choosing new energy contracts. Here, we used business model collaboration workshops to create archetypes of new utility business models, which were then tested with a representative sample of British energy consumers to explore their attractiveness to different segments of society. We show that some of these segments have a substantial appetite for new business models. However, the segments that choose these models are more likely to be affluent, educated homeowners. Without intervention, innovation in utility business models risks exacerbating existing social inequalities, as lower incomes, lower home ownership and low education result in lower preferences for, or no ability to engage with, new utility business models. We also find that institutional trust beyond the energy sector is a key driver of consumer segmentation.

Nature Vol. 6 nº4

Stephen Hall, Jillian Anable e Yvonne Matthews

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