Smart Grid Survey Shows People Want More Than Just Money Savings

Money is a great motivator for anything, and likely the biggest one when it comes to reducing energy usage at home, but a study done for the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) found that U.S. utility customers were interested in smart grid technologies for much more than just the ability to save money.

The SGCC study consisted of a nation-wide survey of utility customers who were asked to rate the importance of several smart grid benefits, namely:

    ease of connecting renewable energy sources to the electric grid
    reduced outages
    new cost-saving rate plans
    fewer new power plant investments
    increased quality of power delivery
    availability of near real-time energy use information
    more accurate billing

Eighty percent of respondents rated each of those issues as important to them.

Possibly even more notable is that when people were then asked if they had heard of the smart grid or smart meters, 51 percent had never heard the terms and 21 percent said that they had heard them, but didn't know what they were. Repeating what we've learned from other studies, all of the respondents who were aware of the terms were supportive of the concepts and those that learned more about them gained a positive impression too.

This shows a crucial need for better messaging from utilities and smart grid technology providers and that within that messaging there needs to be discussion of more than just cost savings. Apparently, people want all the benefits, they just don't know what the solution is called.