The Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA) joined forces with the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) to test whether energy fact sheets can improve people’s ability to understand and compare energy plans—and ultimately choose the best one for them.
Drawing on behavioural insights, we designed five energy fact sheets and ran an online survey to test if any of these fact sheets, or the existing AER fact sheet, improved participants’ engagement, likelihood to switch and confidence making energy decisions.
We found all five BETA fact sheets were clearly preferred to the existing AER fact sheet. Survey participants found the BETA fact sheets easy to understand and helpful in comparing electricity plans and making household budget decisions. Participants were also more confident in their ability to choose the right electricity plan or retailer after seeing a BETA energy fact sheet.
Survey participants said they were only mildly likely to use a fact sheet to switch to another electricity plan, even if they would be better off. This result is suggestive of the ‘stickiness’ of the energy market. Providing consumers with information, even if that information sets out the benefits of switching, is often not enough to prompt them to switch.
In response to feedback, high-income households can reduce their energy use to a larger degree than low-income households (17% vs 3% reduction). This and other insights were gained by two rapid reviews into research, both Australian and International, on digital services and...Read more
Many established homes (most Australian homes) perform quite poorly in terms of energy efficiency and other resource use. Home renovation is a key point at which sustainability could be improved as people have already decided to spend money on renovation (some $32b a year...Read more
Australians have world leading levels of urban resource consumption and carbon emissions – an unsustainable position in the 21 st century. Survey research at the Centre for Urban Transitions reveals that the known determinants of our large urban ecological footprints are...Read more
This report summarises the findings from Stage 1 of the Future Grid Homes project, which involved in-depth and at-home interviews with 51 Australian households in five National Energy Market (NEM) states and territories (VIC, SA, NSW, ACT and QLD).
The difference between actual and calculated energy is called the ‘energy-performance gap’. Possible explanations for this gap are construction mistakes, improper adjusting of equipment, excessive simplification in simulation models and occupant behaviour. Many researchers and governmental institutions think the occupant is the main cause of this gap. However, only limited evidence exists for this. Therefore, an analysis is presented of actual and theoretical energy consumption based on specific household types and building characteristics.