US consumers aged over 55 believe the greatest benefits of a smart grid are saving money and reliability, according to a new study by the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC).
The consumer analysis 'Consumer Pulse: Focus on Seniors' looked at two groupings - one consisting of over 55 year olds and the other over 65.
When questioned about the most favorable benefits of smart grid technology, most cited cutting their electricity bills.
However, when compared with younger counterparts aged 18-54, seniors were less likely to participate in or have an interest in smart grid programs and technologies that have the potential to save them money.
Smart meter data
When it came to smart meters, senior consumers who had a favorable attitude towards the units said their primary reason for this was lower electric costs, while younger people found energy conservation more appealing, according to SGCC.
Also, more than half of the seniors surveyed said they would participate in demand response programs.
Smart grid trust
The study showed that a significant number of seniors (20%) indicated they do not know who to look to as a "trusted source" regarding smart grid information – suggesting an opportunity for utilities to position themselves in this role.
Tools of consumer engagement
Another major learning from the report is the media preferences of senior customers.
Energy companies should engage consumers in these ages brackets using traditional channels such as print, radio and television.
The report recommends that their awareness and favorability of the smart grid can be influenced through education on these channels.
The new study builds on data from SGCC’s national flagship research series, Consumer Pulse Wave 1-4, which was gathered during 2011–2013.