Washington, D.C., January 28, 2011 – EcoAlign, a strategic marketing agency in the energy sector, released the findings of a consumer survey examining customer perceptions and expectations of a voluntary prepay option offered to consumers by local utilities.
“The survey findings point a rapid ripening of prepay as a voluntary option,” stated Jamie Wimberly, CEO of EcoAlign. “Prepay could be the first customer-facing benefit from smart grid and have a large impact on the utility sector.”
* Prepaid products have gone mainstream with over one-half of all Americans having purchased or used a prepaid product, and even more Americans planning to do so over the next year.
* 75 percent of all Americans are satisfied with their prepaid options and products, with almost one-half who have used prepaid products responding they were “highly satisfied.”
* What are the drivers behind satisfaction? Consumers pointed to “ease” and “convenience.” When asked how prepaid products make them feel, many Americans simply responded “happy.”
* A core group of consumers (17 percent) are “extremely interested” or “very interested” in a voluntary prepay option offered by their local utility. Another 25 percent of consumers indicated that they were “interested” or “somewhat interested.”
* Consumers cited the following top three benefits for using a voluntary prepay option: 1) paying for energy as you use it, 2) eliminating any surprises at the end of the month; and 3) control over costs. These responses highlight the consumer perspective of utility service as a commodity and thus something to be managed and controlled.
“Smart grid holds a lot of promise in the minds of Americans,” stated Jamie Wimberly. “Yet for this promise to be realized, new products and services will need to be allowed into the utility sector. This EcoPinion clearly points to the fact that some customers will readily embrace new options if offered.”