Reports show need for consumer education on smart grid, meters and appliances


March 9, 2010 – A new report by Zpryme indicates smart grid technology will be a boon for the smart appliance market. From 2011 to 2015, the global household smart appliance market is projected grow from $3.06 billion to $15.12 billion. The United States will initially dominate the smart appliance market but by 2015 its share will decrease to 36 percent, representing approximately $5.46 billion. China will account for an estimated 18.2 percent, valued at $2.76 billion.

But a study by Ipsos suggests the U.S. and UK utilities need to spend more time and cash on educationg consumers. The study found that, despite billions of dollars being spent to upgrade the electrical grid via smart meters and EV charging stations, 74% of residents in the US and 90% in the UK were previously unfamiliar with Smart Grid technology. Awareness and education is necessary to stem potential consumer backlash over the initial costs associated with smart technology.

Zpryme’s report notes that for many global economies, Smart Grid deployment could be a leading driver of national and global wealth for the next decade or longer. For example, in Australia the $100 million Smart Grid/Smart City project aims to link 9,500 homes to a Smart Grid between 2010 and 2013, becoming the blueprint for a national rollout. Also, Sydney‘s former Olympic Village will become Australia‘s first Smart Village in a two-year trial and Grid Net recently launched its first utility project in Australia utilizing WiMAX-enabled smart meters.

So despite a current lack of consumer enthusiasm in many markets, many clean tech and traditional tech companies are eager to become players in the smart energy industry, especially in the appliance arena. Zpryme’s report notes that consumers may be resistant at first to smart appliances because of their higher sticker price. But once government rebates and reduced energy rates are taken into account, consumers will be more open to adopting smart technology.