Majority of consumers concerned about climate change

Framingham, MA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — August 24, 2007 – Eighty-one percent of respondents in a recent climate change survey in the U.S. indicated they were concerned about climate change, with more than half saying they were very concerned, while only 5 percent indicated they were not concerned at all about climate change.

Moreover almost two-thirds of the respondents reported having taken action in the past 12 months to limit their carbon dioxide emissions – including using less heat and air conditioning, washing clothes in colder water, and replacing standard light bulbs with CFLs – and 59 percent said they are willing to pay $1 per month or more on their monthly utility bills to support utility and government efforts to limit the effects of climate change.

However, 29 percent said they are not willing to pay extra on their monthly utility bills.

On who should take the lead on combating climate change, 37 percent felt that all parties, governments, private businesses and individuals, should contribute, while 34 percent felt the federal government should take the lead and only 3 percent that electric and natural gas utilities should have a lead role.

Nevertheless just over half felt that the utilities have a major responsibility in combating climate change and 60 percent that their local utility was not doing enough to combat climate change.

The survey was conducted by Energy Insights, an IDC Company, and involved 498 members of the Energy Insights National Residential Online Panel.

“Climate change is here to stay,” says Ingrid Rohmund, practice director and co-author of the report. “We expect the current level of media coverage to continue, especially given the approaching election year, which will increase public awareness and concern about climate change.”

Barb Ryan, research analyst and report co-author, adds: “The winners will not be companies that spend their time further debating the issue of whether climate change is a valid concern, but those that are proactive in developing efforts to combat it.”

Among these is PG&E, which was noted in the report as emerging as a leader in this area with its ClimateSmart program – a voluntary program through which residential and business customers pay a separate charge on their monthly utility bills to remove or avoid the equivalent CO2 associated with their energy use and which will help fund environmental projects aimed at removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere or avoiding the emissions in the first place. To date more than 1,600 customers are enrolled in ClimateSmart, which was launched in June, and a typical residential customer pays an additional $4.31 on their monthly bill.

According to the report almost a quarter of respondents are likely to sign up for a climate control program similar to ClimateSmart at a cost of $4 per month, and even at a cost of $10 per month, the estimated take rate is still in the double digits.