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Matching consumer segments to innovative utility business models

01 March, 2021

Matching consumer segments to innovative utility business models

Jillian Anable

Research paper   Transport & Mobility

Stephen Hall, Jillian Anable, Jeffrey Hardy, Mark Workman, Christoph Mazur and Yvonne Matthews


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.

Publication details

Hall, S., Anable, J., Hardy, J., Workman, M., Mazur, C. and Matthews, Y. 2021. Matching consumer segments to innovative utility business models. Nature Energy, 6: 349–361. doi: 10.1038/s41560-021-00781-1Opens in a new tab  

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