How to change consumers’ energy practices through natural language messages of smart meter technologies

Published: Wed 02 Dec 2015
A blog entry by Sasha Bermann

Contributed by:

Sasha Bermann
Chief Dissemination Officer

Sasha Bermann's Blog

2nd December 2015


The main goal of NATCONSUMER’S is to develop messages in the form of Natural Language (NL) to be installed in new, technological equipment like smart meters in order to encourage consumers to change their consumer practices in a more sustainable direction. To achieve this goal, NATCONSUMERS must concentrate further work on Actionable Factors, that is, factors that individual consumers can control and hence are able to change. An overview of Non-Actionable Factors like price system and privacy issues in different European countries is however important to understand the structural framework within which the NL messages will be developed. These are the main conclusions of NATCONSUMERS’ 1st workshop arranged in Oslo, 3rd and 4th of September 2015. 



The outcome of NATCONSUMERS’s 1st workshop is a list of factors which may promote or hinder residential sustainable energy consumption. In this list, the factors promoting or hindering change are placed alongside a dimension going from Actionable Factors on the one extreme and Non-Actionable factors on the other. Examples of Actionable Factors are attitudes and behavior whereas examples of Non-Actionable factors are climate and available energy sources such as RES versus fossil fuels. Between these extremes is a third group of factors referring to conditions that unlikely will be changed by individual consumers such as households’ income and location. The next step of NATCONSUMERS is to decide on what kinds of Actionable Factors NATCONSUMERS should concentrate further work, and what kinds of NL messages that should be developed to different types of consumers. The list of factors is presented in the report “Workshop 1 conclusions” available at NATCONSUNERS’s webpage

Altogether, 19 project participants and 12 especially invited energy experts took part in the workshop. The participants represented different sectors: research institutions, businesses, organizations, and regulators, and came from different parts of Europe: Norway, Finland, the UK, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Hungary Czech Republic, and Greece.

NATCONSUMERS’s second workshop will take place in 2016. The main goal of this workshop is to get an overview of the technology on which the NL messages will be based. In addition, economic and juridical issues like price schemes and privacy issues influencing the development of NL messages will be considered. NATCONSUMERS’S third and last workshop will deal more specifically with the development of NL messages.


For more information, contact:

Anita Borch
National institute for consumer research (SIFO)

+47 22043582


Pål Strandbakken
National institute for consumer research (SIFO)

+47 22043500