Trust building for collaborative win-win customer solutions in energy – Opportunity Assessment

Project dates: 11/01/2021 - 26/06/2021

This project was an opportunity assessment for the RACE (accelerating the transition to Reliable, Affordable, Clean Energy) 2030 Co-operative Research Centre, specifically the RACE for EVERYONE theme. The RACE for EVERYONE Theme aims to accelerate a customer-centred energy transition via trust-building, fore-sighting and developing the future energy workforce.

This opportunity assessment examined the market trends and opportunities for the first aim of Trust-building for collaborative win-win customer solutions (E1). The E1 Research Theme draws together three crucial and related but inadequately understood elements:

  • Understanding customer aspirations and expectations for the energy sector
  • Measuring trust in the energy sector
  • Building trust through tools and practices between customers and service providers in the energy sector.

Building on existing work, this theme explores customer priorities, perceived performance (qualitative and quantitative) relative to these priorities, and the options for better aligning industry performance to priorities and building trust between stakeholders.

Why is this important?

Trends in the energy market indicate we are entering a time of rapid change for both the supply chain and the customer: this is a pivotal point in the relationship with customers, and represents a chance to build trust by bringing customers along for the journey, or to destroy trust by neglecting the customers’ expectations, needs, and role in the changing energy sector.

What did we do?

The priority activities for the E1 research theme are informed by this opportunity assessment, including an Industry Reference Group and ongoing partner engagement. To inform the priority activities, we applied a holistic approach to uncovering more information about trust and the energy sector. We undertook a critical literature review (led by UTS), a data review focused on examining existing datasets and considering alternatives (led by CSIRO), finding and analyzing relevant case studies (led by Curtin University), and finally we drew this information together into a roadmap and set of recommendations (led by UNSW), with QUT being involved in all aspects of the project.

What did we find out?

We identified knowledge gaps and opportunities in the following areas:

  • Conceptualisation and measurement of trust in the energy sector
  • Customer expectations, aspirations, and drivers of trust
  • Moments of truth for creating trust
  • Customer segments
  • Benefits and impacts of trust
  • Trust-building tools and practices

We proposed a new definition of trust for the energy sector: Trust is the confidence that energy organisations, actors and system will meet positive expectations for a specific task under conditions of unknown outcomes. In the energy sector, key expectations are that organisations, actors and the system will act with competence, responsibility, openness and authenticity. *This definition covers actors/organisations in supply AND demand side (customers).

Customer segments are based on tasks (jobs to be done) with customers experiencing vulnerability as sub-segments within each segment.

  1. Moving premises – disconnecting/connecting
  2. Solving an emergency/crisis
  3. Switching retailers
  4. Installing new products/services


For more information about this project, please email:

Funding / Grants

  • RACE CRC Funding (2020 - 2025)

Chief Investigators

Other Team Members

  • Chris Riedy
  • John Gardner
  • John Chong
  • Declan Kuch
  • Sarah Niklas
  • Adam Clements
  • Roberto Minunno 
  • Ruhul Amin
  • Benjamin Goulding


Other Partners

  • Essential Energy
  • University of New South Wales
  • University of Technology Sydney
  • Curtin University


Additional Reports and Documents

E1_Final report_Trust building case study