Most consumers like smart technology and would be willing to participate in energy saving programs but they need more education, says a new report by the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC).
"The key to engaging consumers in smart grid is understanding how to appeal to them in terms that will resonate — how to answer their objections and make it easy for them to interact with new technology," said SGCC Executive Director Patty Durand.
The 2013 State of the Consumer Report summarizes what SGCC knows about the smart grid from the consumers' point of view after conducting five in-depth research studies and talking to more than 4,000 U.S. residential consumers.
The report highlights what SGCC knows about consumers from a series of research studies conducted by the organization in 2012. Findings include:
Segmentation matters: When it comes to smart grid, consumers are not homogeneous in their attitudes, opinions or behaviors, and they all need more education.
Awareness lags: About 75 percent of consumers either have never heard the term "smart grid" or don't know what it means.
Benefits outweigh concerns: When consumers are provided with information about the benefits and key concerns of smart grid, the positive statements are more persuasive and resonate better.
It's not just about saving money: SGCC research demonstrates that multiple smart grid benefits resonate with various segments and types of consumers.
Program interest is quite strong: SGCC research has found that consumers express strong interest in smart grid-enabled programs and services.
Low-income consumers require special focus: While similar to the general population in terms of general smart grid awareness, low-income consumers are different many ways, including communication preferences.
Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC), is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the mission of accelerating the adoption of a consumer-friendly, consumer-safe and consumer-approved smart grid. Membership is open to advocacy groups, technology vendors, research laboratories and electric utilities for collaboration in research, best practices and consumer education.