Constructing policy success for UK energy feedback

2017-08-31T07:48:47Z (GMT) by Rosalyn A. V. Robison Chris Foulds
<p>Energy-feedback tools are commonly used to promote energy saving. In the UK, energy-feedback provision (currently via an in-home display) is part of the government-mandated roll-out of smart meters to all homes by 2020. A core assumption underlying this widespread provision is that information, or evidence, can lead to positive changes in action. This is analogous to assumptions underlying the notion of ‘evidence-based policy’, and raises questions about how users, researchers and policy-makers go about using evidence when aiming for a ‘successful’ outcome. In addition, the ‘policy feedback’ research agenda has asked how policies alter the landscapes within which they operate by, for example, affecting relationships between actors. Via an in-depth review of Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) policy literature over 2010–16, the UK smart meter roll-out was analysed in terms of how its energy-feedback-focused measures may be deemed as ‘successful’. Findings include the fact that direct energy savings played a smaller role than might be expected, and translation from one success measure to another was repeatedly observed. A key conclusion is that acting on feedback requires an assessment of success, but such assessment is highly contextual, for consumers and policy-makers alike. Ways to increase reflexivity in this area are discussed.</p>