Few U.S. consumers are familiar with the smart grid


Atlanta, GA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — March 25, 2010 – Only 4 percent of American consumers are familiar with the benefits and challenges of the smart grid, and most of those that are, are ready to upgrade, according to a new survey.

The survey from GE found that almost 80 percent of those familiar with the term smart grid say that it would help reduce the number of power outages and restore power more quickly when outages do occur, and a similar number believe the smart grid will help the country rely more on clean domestic energy sources such as wind, solar, and biogas.

Further, almost three-quarters understand that the smart grid will give them the information they need to make better decisions about their electricity usage, and three-quarters think the smart grid will help them save money on their monthly bills, while almost two-thirds believe the smart grid will create new jobs in the energy sector.

“We are at an advantage over other countries in that consumers are overwhelmingly focused on maximizing smart grid benefits rather than worrying about how it might get slowed down,” commented Bob Gilligan, vice president – transmission and distribution, for GE Energy Services. “Now is the time for us to make a collaborative effort to educate consumers about why smart grid is so important to supporting 21st century energy in the U.S. and throughout the world.”

The survey, which was conducted telephonically with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 U.S. consumers, follows hot on the heals of a utility executive survey by Oracle (see Wide scale adoption of smart grid components expected in next 10 years in U.S., survey finds). This survey highlighted the need for consumer education for smart grid success, with consumer participation and engagement critical.

In order to help build consumer acceptance and use of the smart grid in the U.S., a non-profit Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative has been established by a group of consumer electronics and technology companies and other stakeholders (see Smart grid consumer collaborative formed to foster consumer adoption of the smart grid).