Reaching the hardest to reach and highly vulnerable in energy advice and support

Project Director: Aimee Ambrose
Project Duration: 2016-2018

This project will be led by SHU in partnership with Citizens Advice and working with Eon and British Gas as the lead industry partners. It will directly involve (via a Steering Group) 25 representatives from the advice, energy, policy and academic sectors who have never previously been brought together under one initiative. It will also directly engage 40 citizens and potential beneficiaries of the project via two Citizens' Panels.

The UK government is currently carrying out a major overhaul of fuel poverty and energy efficiency policy which is having a profound impact on the advice and energy sectors. Both sectors are expected to be at the forefront of efforts to address fuel poverty and to work together- something they have never done before.

From 2018 onwards, energy companies will be obliged to deliver energy efficiency measures to fuel poor households exclusively. However, the sector has limited experience of identifying, reaching and engaging those most in need of these interventions. There is very little existing knowledge or good practice for either sector to draw on in preparing for the challenges ahead (Ambrose et al, 2016). Acquiring new knowledge on how to successfully engage society's most vulnerable households in energy initiatives will be vital if both sectors are to work together to exploit forthcoming opportunities to engage face to face with every vulnerable and hard to reach household through the smart meter roll-out programme.

The generation of new knowledge, an agreed set of good practice principles and policy recommendations through this project will support the advice and energy sectors and policy makers to meet the challenges ahead. The project will involve an evidence review and primary research with stakeholders and citizens that will yield new insights into what works best for whom and under what circumstances with respect to engaging the most vulnerable and hard to reach.

The project team also includes William Baker (Citizens Advice).

Project team

Professor of Energy Policy, BA (Hons), MSc, PhD
Reader, BA (Hons), MA, PhD
Research Fellow, BA (Hons), MA, MA


The Higher Education Innovation Fund
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