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How many consumers still don’t get smart grid? Survey says 54%

By: SmartGridNews.com |

While smart grid technologies, programs and services are considered by many in the energy industry to be essential for a reliable, security electric grid able to meet new and growing demands, somehow that sense of urgency just hasn’t translated to consumers very well.

A new survey from the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) found that consumer awareness of the term smart grid and what it represents hasn’t changed much over the past year. Yes, some consumers are interested in smart grid pricing programs and services and are more likely to look for energy information through social media. But more than half, 54%, have never heard of it. This latest survey is the third in a series and was conducted from Aug. 17 to Sept. 5.

A few more key findings from the SGCC report:

  • 52% of consumers familiar with the smart grid concept said they are generally positive about it; 26% said neutral, and 13% said negative.
  • When asked to weigh the importance of seven potential smart grid benefits, 8 in 10 or more (77%-85%) said each are important.
  • But, only 19%-29% said those benefits were important enough to merit a $3-$4 increase in their electric bills.
  • Of smart grid-enabled programs, consumers said they were somewhat to very likely to participate in critical peak rebate programs (59%), dynamic pricing (46%), energy monitoring service (46%), real-time pricing (32%) and pre-pay programs (23%).

“There continues to be a real need for consumer education around smart grid,” said Patty Durand, executive director for the SGCC. “The current low levels of public awareness on this issue represent both a challenge and an opportunity, but they must be acted upon.”

SGCC is participating in a recently-created DOE Smart Grid Consumer Engagement Working Group intended to bring energy and utility industry representatives together to share information, develop best practices and come up with an engagement model for utilities that are deploying smart grid programs.