Consumer smart meter/grid awareness not increased over last year in U.S., survey finds


Patty Durand,
Executive Director,
Atlanta, GA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — October 24, 2012 – U.S. consumers are interested in various smart grid enabled pricing programs and services and are increasingly likely to use social media to access energy information, according to a new Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) survey.

However, awareness of smart meters and smart grid remains low, and similar to last year, when the first round of SGCC consumer research was undertaken.

Thus so far, increased smart grid/meter implementation nationwide has not made a meaningful difference to consumer awareness. These technologies continue to be off the public’s radar screen to a surprising degree. While most of those who do know about smart grid tend to support it, too few understand the technology and its potential benefits.

The Consumer Pulse Survey Wave 3 study was based on responses from over 1,000 U.S. electricity consumers nationwide during the period from August 17 to September 5, 2012. Around half had never heard the term “smart grid” or “smart meter” and another one fifth had heard the terms but didn’t know much about what they mean.

“There continues to be a real need for consumer education around smart grid,” said Patty Durand, SGCC executive director. “The current low levels of public awareness on this issue represent both a challenge and an opportunity, but they must be acted upon.”

Other findings were that the critical peak rebate program continues to have the highest level of interest, with 59 percent saying they would be somewhat likely or very likely to participate if each program was offered. 46 percent said they would be likely to participate in a time-of-use pricing program. However, only 23 percent expressed interest in a pay as you go (prepay) program.

With many smart grid/meter benefits deemed important by consumers, there is little reason to focus exclusively on any single theme, the study suggests. It seems likely at this time that weaving a number of benefits together is the strongest approach to telling the smart grid story and building support.

However, the benefit or set of benefits to be stressed should vary by segment, based on the research findings.