Analysis of International Energy and Water Trends Uncovers Consumer and Utility Executive Perspectives and Practices Sourced From More Than 2,000 Respondents From 10 Countries
Itron, Inc., which is innovating the way utilities and cities manage energy and water, debuted a landmark report detailing the current state of resourcefulness at Itron Utility Week.
The 2018 Itron® Resourcefulness Report: An Analysis of International Energy and Water Trends summarizes the key findings uncovered in an analysis of opinions sourced from more than 1,000 consumers and 1,018 utility executives, across 10 countries, five continents and all adult age groups. The report reveals that resourcefulness—defined as the thoughtful and careful use of energy and water—is top of mind for utilities and consumers alike, and now, more than ever, they are ready to take action to create a more resourceful world.
The results of these surveys amount to a uniquely inclusive view of resourcefulness and what it means to stakeholders, including utility executives who play a crucial role in providing energy and water, and citizens who consume and pay for these resources. The report also examines consumers’ opinions of their own resourcefulness as well as the strategies utilities plan for integrating solutions that minimize waste and environmental impact, while providing reliable water and energy services.
“The Itron Resourcefulness Report offers a wealth of knowledge on a number of topics. There were two key takeaways I found especially inspiring,” said Philip Mezey, Itron president and CEO.
“First, it’s clear that the global dedication to resourcefulness knows no borders—virtually every respondent was aligned on the fact that resourcefulness is important. This is a critical milestone that we had to hit to continue improving. I was equally impressed by the personal accountability expressed by both utilities and consumers when it comes to upholding best practices for maximized efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability; this cohesive and community-wide approach to sustainability is the only way forward.”
While these two groups often have starkly different views about responsibilities and priorities related to improving resourcefulness, they also share many meaningful commonalities. In analyzing the massive pool of data that resulted from their responses, the results point to several key insights:
- Consumers are worried about inefficiency and waste, and they believe that utilities can— and must—do a better job at being resourceful. Consumers’ concerns are validated by the point that only half of utility executives believe their utilities are running efficiently.
- Virtually everyone thinks resourcefulness is important, and while there are
disagreements around who is best equipped to improve it, the gap is narrowing as each
group has begun to envision a larger role for itself. Consumers recognize their own role, with 58 percent seriously concerned about their personal impact on the environment.
- Rates are too high and reducing pollution is a priority. The number of utility executives who say affordable electricity prices are the most important element of resourcefulness jumped 56 percent from 2015. Three out of four consumers say electricity is overpriced. Now more than ever, both groups want to do something about it.
- When they envision a resourceful future, consumers and utilities see more renewables,
connected infrastructures, big data and smart cities. Integrating renewables is a shared
goal. It’s the No. 1 unmet need among utilities; for consumers, it’s the number one goal they
have for utilities.
- Utilities are working to build a resourceful future, but challenges exist. Utilities find they’re having a harder time keeping up with the pace of innovation; their biggest unmet needs are integrating renewables and investing in innovative infrastructure technologies. Three out of four utility executives see a need to upgrade technology to make renewables happen.
- Creating allies will be instrumental in building a more resourceful future. For most
consumers, the primary motivation for resourcefulness is to save money. In fact, 61 percent of consumers would act more resourcefully if they could save 5 to 20 percent on their utility bills This presents an opportunity for utilities to demonstrate that resourceful habits and investments can cut energy and water bills—a message that consumers respond to.
- The time is now to act. Consumers and utilities both want to move in the same direction. They both want a resourceful world, to live in smart cities, and to make extensive use of renewable sources of energy. They want safer, less wasteful, and more efficient and sustainable communities. The survey showed that 33 percent of consumers think they are best suited to increase resourcefulness, and 35 percent think utilities are.
“The insights from the Itron Resourcefulness Report underscore the importance of collaboration between public and private sectors,” said Amy Aussieker, executive director of Envision Charlotte. “I was inspired by respondents’ concerns for creating a more resourceful future and the sense of urgency from both groups. A community-wide passion for sustainability was critical to our success at Envision Charlotte, where we worked with commercial buildings in Charlotte’s Uptown to reduce their energy consumption by 19 percent over five years. The project was an innovative approach to driving energy efficiency and a cross-sector effort to make Charlotte a leader in smart and sustainable cities. It was a win-win for us, and the insights from this recent report affirm that collaboration is key.” To download a full copy of the Itron® Resourcefulness Report, visit www.itron.com/resourceful or download the infographic for report highlights. Key outcomes of the Itron Resourcefulness Report will also be explored during Itron Utility Week, which kicked off this morning in Scottsdale, Arizona. Follow #IUW18 for live updates from the event, and join us on Monday, Oct. 1 at 10:30 a.m. PDT for the #ItronChat on Twitter to talk about what it takes to be resourceful.