Utility Week

UW June 2021 HR

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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UTILITY WEEK | MAY 2021 | 5 KNOWLEDGE WORTH KEEPING Subscribers to Utility Week can access premium content and exclusive research at the Download section of our website. http://www.utilityweek.co.uk Making a drama out of decarbonising heat The Archers is the world's longest-running drama series, although I've never managed to get past the theme tune. But its origins lay in short-term propa- ganda, as an e ort to in uence the post-war farming community to adopt more up-to-date agricultural practices. The idea has been picked up in a couple of recent conversations about decarbonisation of heat, one of the strands of our Countdown to COP cov- erage (see David Blackman's analysis, p20). There have been suggestions that the topic should feature in EastEnders or Coronation Street as a way of raising the proβ€š le of the debate. Whether this suggestion prompts you to nod or shake your head prob- ably indicates your view on a wider debate on consumer engagement around net zero: In the green corner are those who insist consumer buy-in is essential for all areas of the transition and that individuals should be given agency in tackling climate change. One of those taking this viewpoint is Octopus Energy chief executive Greg Jackson, who told a Utility Week conference recently: "You start talking boilers around the dinner table, you'll immedi- ately β€š nd people talking about the problems they've had with gas boilers, how much insurance they have to pay – people are hugely engaged around the topic." In the other green corner are the voices warning against the risk of information overload. They advocate focusing e orts on making the transi- tion so rewarding to the customer, and the process so painless, that choice is rendered irrelevant. They insist going green should be the only choice. At a recent roundtable hosted by Utility Week, one energy retailer argued for mandating change in areas like decarbonisation of heat, stress- ing that this had proved far more e ective than customer engagement in examples as diverse as wearing seat belts and organ donation. They added: "The fastest way to get things done is to assume that cus- tomers won't change, set the default in the way you want it and educate customers so they don't go against it." Ultimately the goals of both sides are the same: to encourage consum- ers to adopt greener ways of living. It just depends if you consider educa- tion or engagement to be the primary method to do this. Either way, it wouldn't hurt for the Queen Vic to get a heat pump or for Emmerdale to be one of the β€š rst hydrogen villages. Or perhaps it warrants a new show in itself, "And now on Radio 4, an everyday story of hybrid boiler folk. Pam, pah, pum, pah, pum, pah, pah." James Wallin, digital editor, jameswallin@fav-house.com Meet the Editorial Team Utility Week provides unrivalled news, insight and impact analysis, private networking and live events on key areas including policy and regulation, vulnerable customers and operational excellence. Learn how Utility Week membership can build confi dence in your team's decision making - speak to our membership team today on e: jonikiforov@fav-house.com; t: 01342 332077 Content director: Jane Gray, e: janegray@fav-house.com, t: 01342 333004 Digital editor: James Wallin, e: jameswallin@fav-house.com; t: 01342 332015 Intelligence editor: Denise Chevin, e: denisechevin@ fav-house.com; t: 01342 332087 Energy editor: Tom Grimwood, e: tomgrimwood@fav-house.com; t: t: 01342 332061 Reporter: Adam John e: adamjohn@fav-house.com; t: 01342 332069 Water correspondent: Ruth Williams, e: ruthwilliams@fav-house.com, t: 01342 332069 Policy correspondent: David Blackman, e: davidblackman@fav-house.com Letter from the Editor James Wallin Verint: No going back: the pandemic year that shook up utility customer services https://bit.ly/3r26Wx8 COEUS: How IT can help energy companies meet their net zero targets https://bit.ly/3ftTTRa Vision: How to fi x megaprojects (and all capital projects that matter) https://bit.ly/3qzY2Ha COEUS

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