Consumers react favorably to smart grid concept in U.S.


Atlanta, GA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — June 20, 2012 – Consumer awareness of smart grid seems to be low in the U.S., but when the concept is explained the reaction is favorable, according to the latest installment of the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative’s (SGCC) Consumer Pulse Study.

However, the willingness to pay for smart grid benefits varies by consumer segment, with the greatest interest in benefits that improve reliability, help the environment, and provide usage information to help save money. Further, smart meter-enabled programs were found to appeal to most consumers.

This part of the study, entitled “Consumer Voices,” was based on in-depth interviews during the last week of April with 24 residential electricity customers in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Chicago across the five consumer segments that were found in an earlier phase of the study.

Many of the participants said they had had not heard the term “smart grid,” and most who had indicated that they knew little about it. However, after being provided with basic information about smart grid and smart meters, not one of them rejected the concept.

Participants also found positive messages about smart grid to be more credible and persuasive than negative messages. After hearing both positive and negative messages, most of the consumers wanted their utility to work quickly and implement smart grid, with the level of favorability aligned with the defining attitudes, values and characteristics of the respective consumer segments. Those most favorable were excited about the new technology to help save money, reduce energy waste and help the environment. Those neutral mentioned a few reservations connected to the negative messages included in the discussion, but none rejected smart grid implementation by their utility.