EcoAlign CEO Jamie Wimberly explains, “American awareness of smart grid remains low. Yet, consumers like the concept of smart grid and believe smart grid will benefit them personally. Moreover, consumers seem much more receptive to and would welcome higher levels of engagement with their electricity suppliers. They are looking specifically for help to manage their bills, but more broadly are looking for alternatives to traditional service, offerings and customer service options, especially around bill pay and energy management.”
The survey found that consumer awareness has remained constant over the past year, with 35 percent of Americans aware of the phrase “smart grid” in 2011 compared to 31 percent in 2010.
When asked their interest in being able to review their personal energy consumption data, 56 percent of those polled found the option “extremely appealing” or “very appealing.” Another 33 percent found it to be “appealing.” An equal number of Americans believe smart grid will either “greatly improve” or “improve” the customer experience and customer service.
More consumers were concerned or very concerned about the potential for rising utility bills in 2011 compared to 2010—78 percent to 74 percent in 2010—but at the same time, the most frequently chosen statement was: “I am most concerned with saving money on my utility bill” (43 percent).
Eight out of ten Americans thought it would be extremely or very valuable to find out how the smart grid would impact their bill, new pricing options that would give them the opportunity to save money, and what the smart grid would cost.
While one fourth of consumers would allow the utility to control their high-use appliances automatically, another quarter would like notifications so they can make the adjustments themselves. An additional one third expressed willingness if the price paid was sufficient, while only 16 percent said they would never allow this.
When consumers were asked to use one word to describe their biggest concern relative to smart grid, they indicated their top concerns included privacy, control/loss of control, security, and even Big Brother. A strong majority o 65 percent believed only the consumer should have access to their detailed energy consumption data.
Anto Budiardjo, President and CEO of Clasma Events, adds: “Smart grid is expected to be both transformative and disruptive. While the emphasis to date has been on deployment and realizing benefits on the utility side of the meter, the transformation – namely, leveraging real-time energy consumption data – will only be successful if utilities and energy suppliers embrace engagement in all its facets with consumers. For this reason, we have a strong emphasis on residential, commercial and industrial energy consumers at this year’s ConnectivityWeek.”