Why Fair Futures?

Conventional approaches to ‘protecting’ the fuel poor have focused on the needs of the energy system, not those of the consumer, with interventions rooted in regulation and policy, rarely tapping into innovation.

Most interventions to aid vulnerable energy consumers come from government regulation and policy. Yet innovation can provide important and additional options to better understand what people need and want from energy in their homes, and how the difficulties that low income households face, are exaggerated by the high cost of adequate energy in their homes.

Fair Futures explores the opportunities for innovation to address fuel poverty, and better understand the issues faced by vulnerable energy consumer groups in the UK.

Poised between government, industry and academia, the Fair Futures team are uniquely placed and motivated to facilitate conversations as an impartial, independent convener with knowledge of the energy sector and vulnerable energy consumers.

Our Approach

Fair Futures focuses on how innovation can be used to better understand the issues faced by vulnerable energy consumers and to identify the areas where commercial, governmental, community and household needs and motivations could be aligned to provide more effective policies, products and services.

To understand how to design and deliver services to consumers facing difficulties with low household incomes and the high cost of adequate energy in their homes, Fair Futures is trying to better understand what people in vulnerable circumstances need and want from energy in their home. The best way to demonstrate that new innovations will work for vulnerable households is to design it with them.


There is a risk that some consumers in vulnerable situations – with health conditions, on low incomes, without access to the internet, or who speak English as a second language for instance – may not benefit or could even be harmed as decarbonisations and digitalisation happens. For example, 9% of people have never used the internet, 13% of people don’t have access to the internet and 20% don’t have broadband, so despite the many benefits of smart heating, we need to ensure emerging digital systems are not a barrier to accessing energy.

With greater insight of vulnerable customers’ needs and challenges, organisations will be able to explore the opportunities for innovation that enable people to access the energy they want and develop new products and services.

This could decrease the risk of undertaking in innovation, for both businesses and consumers, and could be applied to developing new propositions, improving customer handling procedures and meeting new policy obligations and changes.

Our Projects

Fair Futures Bootcamp

The first of its kind to be held in Britain, aimed to harness the powers of collaborative working and creativity to look at what might be achieved. From this, we have developed a free online tool, Lets Beta Fuel Poverty, which ‘scores’ potential innovations on how they will impact consumers living with fuel poverty.

Warmth on Prescription

Coming soon

Smarter Protections

Two pieces of research commissioned by Citizens Advice, focusing on the potential risks of a smart energy future and the protections that need to be considered.

Coming Soon

Vulnerable Personas

Coming soon
Bromford Housing Association
In the winter of 2019/20 we are working with the innovative housing association Bromford with some of the 100 homes in our Living Lab being residents of Bromford housing. This work will explore how smart heating can improve comfort, control and cost for households at risk of fuel poverty – while providing vital data on the thermal performance of homes.
Find out more

Do you want to protect the fuel poor?

Contact us if you want to be involved in ensuring the future energy system works for everyone through new policies, products, services and strategies.

Come and see us for a friendly

chat over a cuppa.


Cannon House, 18 The Priory Queensway

Birmingham B4 6BS8

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