Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number NIA_SPEN_0079
Title PSR Communication Review
Status Started
Energy Categories Other Cross-Cutting Technologies or Research(Demographics) 100%;
Research Types Applied Research and Development 100%
Science and Technology Fields ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) 100%
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Sociological economical and environmental impact of energy (Consumer attitudes and behaviour) 25%;
Other (Energy technology information dissemination) 75%;
Principal Investigator Project Contact
No email address given
SPEN - SP Distribution Plc
Award Type Network Innovation Allowance
Funding Source Ofgem
Start Date 01 September 2022
End Date 30 September 2023
Duration ENA months
Total Grant Value £125,000
Industrial Sectors Power
Region Scotland
Programme Network Innovation Allowance
Investigators Principal Investigator Project Contact , SPEN - SP Distribution Plc (100.000%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , SP Energy Networks (0.000%)
Web Site
Objectives This research project will aim to establish whether low-cost behaviourally informed nudges in communications can improve consumer engagement with the PSR, and understand any differences between consumer groups necessitating bespoke approaches according to need. Consumer groups with the greatest under-representation on the PSR – according to national statistics – will be targeted, and wider vulnerability will also be considered (e.g. digital exclusion).The approach will comprise a literature review and stakeholder engagement, trials deployment, and data analysis. The literature review will seek to establish prior relevant behavioural insights research, especially within the energy sector and relating to consumer communications, to allow for the development of a number of candidate interventions to trial. Meanwhile, engagement with vulnerability experts and customer services stakeholders will allow for a deeper understanding of consumer and organisational requirements. Potential interventions and coordination support will also be agreed upon, with any barriers to delivery and data access considered. Consumer communication trials will be designed according to the outcome of the literature review and stakeholder consultation, and will be implemented over an extended period, depending on the nature and complexity of the interventions. Data collection and analysis, through adoption of appropriate statistical techniques, will aim to draw out the main findings, and make clear recommendations for consumer communications approaches and suggestions for future research.Reports will be provided following the literature review and data analysis; a summary presentation will also be delivered following completion of the project. The project will be split into three phases: Phase 1: Literature Review and Stakeholder EngagementTask 1.1: Literature Review: Review of academic and grey literature relating to behavioural insights research within the energy sector and realting to consumer communications. Best practice relating to applied trial design will also be considered. Task 1.2: Stakeholder Engagement: 2-3 workshops with a vulnerability expert panel and the customer service team. This will allow for a depth of undertstanding of the existing barriers to consumer engagement, current approaches and possible solutions. A second workshop with the customer service team is suggested to take place to allow further input into the suggested trials designs, and to identify any commercial or logistical constraints to trials implementation and data access. Task 1.3: Phase 1 Report: Report summarising the approach, findings and outcome of the literature review and stakeholder engagement. Suggested trial interventions will be indicated in this report.Phase 2: Trials DeploymentThis phase will involve finalising the design of a series of consumer communications trials, and implementing and coordinating those trials to allow for effective testing of each of the interventions. This phase will be run in accordance with best practice in trials design. Interventions will take the form of small, evidence-based changes to communications, such as to their content (e.g. wording), format (e.g. communication channel), frequency and timing (e.g. in step with other important changes). These interventions will be designed with both potential impact and cost effectiveness in mind. Consumers will be randomly assigned to different treatment (intervention) or control groups. A sufficient number of trial consumers will be required to ensure adequate base rates of vulnerability within the sample, and to be capable of capturing any significant changes in PSR sign-ups.Interventions will be geared towards improving consumer engagement with the PSR, and as such several trials will need to be run bearing in mind the wide-ranging nature of consumer circumstances and barriers. The length of the trial deployment will depend on the number and complexity of these trials, allowing for a sufficient period of data collection, but is recommended to be no less than six months. Phase 3: Data Analysis and ReportingTask 3.1: Data Analysis: Comprehensive analysis of data, including the intervention condition and the PSR sign-up rate. This will include, as appropriate, importing, cleaning, transforming and statistically analysing the collected data.Task 3.2: Summary Report: Report of the methodology, findings, conclusions and recommendations from the research.Task 3.3: Executive Presentation: A summary presentation for interested stakeholders, covering pertinent findings and recommendations. Phase 1: Literature Review and Stakeholder EngagementTo understand the state of extant behavioural science research relating to the energy sector and consumer communications, and to understand current best practice in applied trials design.To recognise existing consumer barriers to engaging with the PSR.To identify potential enhanced communications interventions for targeting consumers in vulnerable circumstances, and to acknowledge hurdles to implementation.To report on the above, allowing for scrutiny of suggested communications trialsPhase 2: Trials DeploymentTo agree with stakeholders and finalise the design of a set of trialsTo administer and coordinate the running of trials over an extended period (at least 6 months)To make provisions for effective and accurate data collection.Phase 3: Data Analysis and ReportingTo analyse the trials data using appropriate statistical techniques (e.g. ANOVA).To produce a summary report outlining the methodology, findings, conclusions and recommendations of the research.To deliver an executive presentation, providing sufficient detail to allow for the approach and conclusions to be interpreted.
Abstract Establish whether behaviourally informed approaches in communications can improve consumer engagement with the PSR and understand any differences between consumer groups requiring bespoke approaches according to need. This will allow DNOs to make better informed choices about how, when and who to target, thereby supporting investment and resource allocation to those most in need. 
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 14/10/22