Cooking on gas?
April 16, 2017 PCP Market Research

Cooking on gas?

The challenge

Yorkshire Energy Partnership (YEP) wanted to launch a local energy tariff for residents of North Yorkshire. It would focus on helping those vulnerable to fuel poverty.

We were commissioned to test reactions to the concept of a local energy tariff. We were also asked to examine how best to develop and market the proposition to appeal to as many people as possible.

In addition, we looked at attitudes towards energy suppliers and barriers to switching provider.


The key objectives of the research were:

  • To identify barriers to switching energy supplier among those vulnerable to fuel poverty and the wider population
  • To explore means of overcoming these barriers, for example through product design, marketing and promotion
  • To inform ideas for tariff design and marketing and test them out with target groups
  • To compare our findings with previous Ofgem studies to test whether barriers identified in national research are applicable at a regional level

Our approach

We carried out six focus groups among North Yorkshire residents in two stages:

  • the first phase identified barriers to switching energy supplier and explored ways in which these barriers could be overcome
  • the second phase focused on attitudes towards the Yorkshire Energy Partnership proposition. It explored views on elements such as logos and noted reactions to specific visual examples of marketing.

Between the two stages of focus groups we worked to identify key methods of marketing the tariff. These were based on the findings of the stage one groups. These were then used to create material for use in the stage two focus groups. We also conducted six depth interviews among key local stakeholders to ensure that their views and experiences were taken into account.


We discovered that the price would need to be competitive, guaranteed for a period of time and be easy to understand. For marketing, people responded best to price, clear information and how YEP was not-for-profit and run from Yorkshire.

Yorkshire Energy Partnership used the research to help create their marketing material. They made their tariff information available through a variety of channels to reach a range of people, including vulnerable residents.

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