About the Client
The client is one of the largest electric utilities in the US and is actively developing decarbonization efforts as part of its overall strategy to achieve aggressive GHG reduction goals.
In 2018, in support of their residential building electrification strategy, our client wanted to capture a baseline of their customers’ current awareness of and attitudes towards different types of space heating, water heating, and cooking technologies. Despite being commercially available for several years, the update of these technologies was lower than their natural gas equivalents. Our client also wanted to better understand the sources of influence on customers’ decisions, focusing on the market actors that were critical to the sale and install of heating and water heating equipment. To complete this study, EMI Consulting developed and fielded a multi-mode study to assess customer preferences and awareness as well as capture the perspective of relevant market actors.
EMI Consulting designed a rapid, four-step research approach using qualitative and quantitative research methods to gather direct feedback from both households and relevant market actors. The results of each research step influenced the design of the next step. This included secondary research, 12 focus groups with market actors and customers, a large-scale quantitative customer web survey with over 10,000 customers, and 30+ interviews with a variety of market actors. In addition to establishing a baseline, EMI Consulting used the results of this research to develop personas for our client to use in the development of new targeted program offerings and services.
Our research provided our client with foundational data that was used to both inform program design and also engage with regulators as part of statewide policy making. From customers, we captured data regarding customer preferences, attitudes towards equipment costs and performance, awareness of available technology and GHG reduction efforts, and potential for electrifying homes. From market actors, we explored the various business models that contractors employ when selling equipment and what barriers exist to the installation of electric space and water heating.
Our client used these data immediately as part of policy discussions and to inform various pilot efforts focused at decreasing the carbon footprint of households through-out its service territory.