CALD energy consumer research 2015-2016

The Ethnic Communities Council (ECC) commissioned research in order to understand better the experiences and concerns of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) energy consumers in households and in ethnic specific businesses. The National Electricit Market Consumer Advocacy Panel funded the research as there had been little research previously that sought the views of these groups. 

ECC NSW surveyed 145 households in 10 different languages, and 83 small businesses in 8 languages in NSW and Victoria, to understand those consumers’ experiences and concerns.

Survey methodology 

In 2011-12, we found that CALD households and businesses did not understand the changes in the energy retail market.  We asked the same questions in 2015/16, as well as investigating how those consumers were accessing new and emerging technologies and services.  We expanded the survey to Victoria as well as NSW, to identify any differences between States.

Survey data was collected by bilingual energy researchers in their communities, in language. The survey respondents consisted of 145 households in 8 different languages and 83 small businesses in 6 languages in NSW and Victoria

What we found 

They prefer communication in their first language;

their energy literacy is poor;

they need help from retailers to understand and participate in the energy market;

industry, government and regulators need to help ensure that CALD consumers are not left behind in accessing new energy technologies; and 

low income consumers are not accessing payment assistance, despite being over represented in the lowest income groupings.

The ECC will use this work to:

Act with government and the energy industry to improve energy literacy of CALD energy consumers to facilitate their access and participation in the energy market and new technologies.  

Pursue further research to answer why CALD consumers are not accessing payment assistance.

The diversity of responses between language groups reinforces the need to engage households and business CALD consumers. ECC’s Cultural Connections: Engaging CALD energy consumers provides guidance to the energy industry and government on how to reach those customers.





Download the Research Report 

Download the Research Highlights