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Consumer-supplier-government triangular relations: Rethinking the UK policy path for carbon emissions reduction from the UK residential sector

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  • Parag, Yael
  • Darby, Sarah
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    Abstract

    The UK residential (household) sector is responsible for approximately 30% of total carbon dioxide emissions and is often seen as the most promising in terms of early reductions. As most direct household emissions come from only two fuel sources, this paper critically examines how existing emissions reduction policies for the sector shape - and are shaped by - relations between the three main groups of actor in this policy domain: central government, gas and electricity suppliers, and energy users. Focusing on relations between three dyads (government-suppliers, suppliers-consumers and consumers-government) enables us to examine aspects of demand reduction that have often been overlooked to date. By 'relations' we refer to services, power relationships and flows of capital and information, as well as less easily defined elements such as loyalty, trust and accountability. The paper argues that the chosen government policy path to deliver demand reduction, which heavily emphasises the suppliers' role, suffers from principal-agent problems, fails to align consumers and supplier interests toward emissions reduction, and does not yet portray a lower-carbon future in positive terms. It suggests that more attention should be paid to government-consumer relations, recognising that energy consumers are also citizens.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V2W-4WCT01R-2/2/5c6aca88aae5ccb3e7eb5ba67b9dc09d
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

    Volume (Year): 37 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 10 (October)
    Pages: 3984-3992

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:37:y:2009:i:10:p:3984-3992

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

    Related research

    Keywords: Carbon emissions reduction Principal-agent problem Residential energy demand;

    References

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    1. Wright, Peter & Mukherji, Ananda & Kroll, Mark J., 2001. "A reexamination of agency theory assumptions: extensions and extrapolations," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 413-429.
    2. Mitchell, Catherine & Connor, Peter, 2004. "Renewable energy policy in the UK 1990-2003," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(17), pages 1935-1947, November.
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    Cited by:
    1. Rosenow, Jan & Platt, Reg & Flanagan, Brooke, 2013. "Fuel poverty and energy efficiency obligations – A critical assessment of the supplier obligation in the UK," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 1194-1203.
    2. Mah, Daphne Ngar-yin & Wu, Yun-Ying & Ip, Jasper Chi-man & Hills, Peter Ronald, 2013. "The role of the state in sustainable energy transitions: A case study of large smart grid demonstration projects in Japan," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 726-737.
    3. Xi, Fengming & Geng, Yong & Chen, Xudong & Zhang, Yunsong & Wang, Xinbei & Xue, Bing & Dong, Huijuan & Liu, Zhu & Ren, Wanxia & Fujita, Tsuyoshi & Zhu, Qinghua, 2011. "Contributing to local policy making on GHG emission reduction through inventorying and attribution: A case study of Shenyang, China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 5999-6010, October.
    4. Christoforidis, Georgios C. & Chatzisavvas, Konstantinos Ch. & Lazarou, Stavros & Parisses, Costantinos, 2013. "Covenant of Mayors initiative—Public perception issues and barriers in Greece," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 643-655.

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