Bridging pricing and perception gap key to driving smart grid, green power solutions in U.S.


Jennifer Graham Clary,
Chair, Burson-Marsteller’s
Global Technology Practice
San Francisco, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — August 21, 2009 – Americans agree that the electrical grid infrastructure should be upgraded to support alternative energy technologies but there is a perception gap between what they are willing to pay for green power and what they think it costs, according to a new survey.

The 2009 Green Power Progress Survey: A Study of Consumer Demand for Green Power Infrastructure, Renewable Energy & Technologies by public relations firm Burson-Marsteller and research consultancy Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, found that more than six in ten Americans are very likely to support increased government investment in smart grid technology that provides better control by cutting back on consumption during peak periods.

Further, seven out of ten Americans support federal stimulus funds toward alternative energy technologies.

However, when it comes to payment while the Americans say they are willing to pay 15 percent ($18/month, based on the average electricity bill noted by respondents) more than what they pay today for energy that comes from alternative sources, they also say they believe green energy to be at least 50 percent ($62/month) more expensive than what they currently pay. Thus, there is a $44 green power pricing and perception gap existing among consumers.

“This gap is limiting the role end users can play in upgrading the nation’s grid infrastructure and deploying green technology solutions,” says Jennifer Graham Clary, chair of Burson-Marsteller’s Global Technology Practice. “Consumer awareness around pricing, value and the specific consumer benefits of these upgrades is critical for companies and public agencies seeking to drive the commercialization of new energy and green technology solutions.”

Nevertheless the respondents said they would be willing to pay a one-time fee of $48 and a monthly fee of $13 on average for the benefits of smart grid technology, and almost two-thirds said they would be very likely to support additional smart grid investment with incentives.

Other key findings of the survey were that 57 percent of the respondents said a lot needs to be done in critical grid upgrading to meet the 5-year demand, and almost 50 percent said the electrical grid needs a major overhaul.

Perhaps not surprisingly for a group of “Green Elites”, identified as active participants in the sustainability and environment sector, the green power pricing and perception gap was lower at $29 and they were willing to pay an average $70 one-time fee and $36 monthly for the benefits of smart grid technology.

The respondents indicated that they paid an average of $117 in April 2009 for electricity.