Posted by Heidi Schwartz
The Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) released the findings of its Consumer Pulse survey, gleaning insights on consumer awareness, favorability, expectations, and preferences as they relate to smart grid and smart-enabled programs and technologies. This is the fifth consecutive year that SGCC has fielded its Consumer Pulse survey.
Major findings from this year’s research include:
- The majority of respondents (86%) recognize the benefits of smart grid-enabled technology, citing improved reliability, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and money saved by enabling better energy management as the top three benefits.
- Most consumers (82%) are satisfied with their electric utility.
- Interest in innovative pricing programs is quite high. Three out of five respondents would likely participate in a critical peak rebate programs.
- Favorability toward the terms smart grid and smart meter remains unchanged since 2011. About half of consumers say they have favorable feelings toward both and another 21% to 25% expressed neutral views.
The study also provides an updated consumer segmentation framework designed to assure the benefits of smart energy technology are easily understood, widely shared and adopted industry-wide. The report’s data identifies five consumer segments:
- Green Champions (30%) demonstrate the strongest interest in new utility services and smart energy programs. They are early technology adopters, the youngest segment, and the most environmentally conscious.
- Savings Seekers (20%) are the lowest-income segment, and many are looking for information on how to save money. Awareness and favorability toward smart grid and smart meters are low, but the segment does view smart grid benefits as important.
- Status Quo (18%) have a lower interest in smart energy programs than any of the other segments. The segment is relatively older, where comfort and ease are more important than conservation.
- Technology Cautious (17%) are more knowledgeable about smart grid programs but have little interest in participating in them.
- Movers and Shakers (15%) are the highest income segment, and smart grid awareness and favorability are high, but utility satisfaction is low.
“The updated SGCC segmentation presents differences in consumers that have actionable implications and opportunities that are important in energy program planning, marketing and public relations, and regulatory relations,” explains Patty Durand, SGCC executive director.
The full report can be accessed at www.smartgridcc.org.