A study done by the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative finds that about two thirds of the American population are likely to use smart meter data for energy management. Two-way communicating smart meters are being put in place by electric utilities to promote energy-efficient smart grid programs. However, Smart Grid Awareness remains low: about half the study’s respondents say they have never heard the term. And most prefer not to pay for energy monitoring.
The Consumer Pulse and Market Segmentation Study finds that although few of those who know about the smart grid oppose it, very few really understand the potential benefits of the technology. Yet after hearing basic descriptions, most consumers do support smart grid and smart meter rollout.
• Initial consumer interest in energy management, dynamic pricing, and demand response is evident, providing a potential foundation for smart grid acceptance.
• Almost half of consumers say they would participate in Time of Use pricing, in which rates change throughout the day, allowing people to run energy-intensive appliances at less expensive times.
• Six-in-ten say they would participate in Critical Peak Rebate, with regional differences.
• To access energy data, consumers prefer an in-home device over a website, but only if the device is free. In the case of a $100 device, 56 percent chose the free website.
• Messages about saving money, reliable power/timely restoration and avoiding energy waste were the most effective (80% Somewhat/Strongly Increase Support) of seven positive messages consumers were asked to evaluate.
“Continued low awareness is a cause for concern,” the study states. “Smart grid implementation requires a huge investment at a time of economic hardship.”
The study of 1,200 respondents was weighted by age, ethnicity, gender and region to align with national population parameters.
The Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative study found that more people prefer in-home energy monitoring devices than web-based systems, if they are free.
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Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates