Future Ready

Socially Green

Project Data

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Socially green aims to understand how we can continue to serve the needs of customers from all backgrounds and support those in vulnerable circumstances as we transition to a Net Zero carbon emissions future energy system.

What is the project about?

Our role is changing fundamentally. We are converting from our traditional role of being a Distribution Network Operator to becoming a Distribution System Operator, balancing an increasingly complex, interconnected and low-carbon electricity network while maintaining focus on our core responsibilities of reliability, safety, efficiency and customer service. Changing consumer behaviours and emerging new technologies – such as renewable energy, battery storage and electric vehicles – along with the advent of new energy markets backed by modern software have driven this change.

In this new world, it’s vital that we address the needs of all of our customers and make sure that our services are inclusive and fair for all. It’s also critical that no one is left behind as the UK transitions to a Net Zero energy system driven by the technological revolution.

Socially Green is a detailed project that will assess the needs of our current and future customers who may be disadvantaged or in vulnerable circumstances. This understanding will help us set new priorities and trackable targets aimed at creating a fair and accessible energy system for all. The project will help us identify any barriers that might exist for certain types of customers. With that understanding, we will design and evaluate new services and/or partnerships that could improve inclusion. The aim is to identify new services and trial innovative solutions designed to help those who may be disadvantaged.

How we’re doing it

In the project, we’ll conduct qualitative and quantitative research assessments of the needs of our current and future customers who may be disadvantaged or in vulnerable circumstances. The research will unfold in three phases:

  • Phase one: identify the different customer segments to understand what support customers who may be disadvantaged or in vulnerable circumstances might need through the Net Zero transition
  • Phase two: map out customer needs now and in the future, analysing the benefits potential new services could provide for communities.
  • Phase three: complete trials to gather evidence to support the research findings from phases one and two. Examples could include new funding mechanisms for people that might not be able to afford low carbon technologies, building new partnerships with groups who educate consumers on energy bills, and improving charging access for those who want to switch to electric vehicles.

What makes it innovative

For the project, we’re looking ahead to analyse and understand what the future might look like for customers of varied backgrounds and circumstances. The Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050 target mean there will be a significant technological and societal change in the UK over the next thirty years – including some technologies which have not yet been invented. This is an exciting time, but it also means there is significant uncertainty and barriers for those who might face additional challenges in getting involved in the transition.

Socially Green is planning far into the future to innovate our way to a Net Zero system that works for everyone.

What we’re learning

Through the project, we’ll develop:

  • Insights into how customers may face challenges getting involved in the Net Zero transition
  • A better understanding of local customer needs and potential services we can offer to support customers
  • An understanding of the benefits innovation can create for customers who face challenges getting involved in the Net Zero transition
  • Trials for various new methods of supporting customers so we can test their effectiveness
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