NORTH SALEM, NY, Sept. 27, 2002 — Significant numbers of American homeowners seem closer to taking energy matters into their own hands and generating their household supply of electricity, according to the latest national consumer survey conducted by RKS Research & Consulting, a nationwide market research and public opinion polling firm.
RKS’ latest residential customer market assessment-its fourth national survey of the market potential for consumer awareness of and interest in adopting on-site power generation since1998-shows consistent trends in interest and potential applications among U.S. homeowners, regardless of household income levels.
More than one third-35 percent-of all U.S. homeowners now express interest in generating their own electricity, according to the RKS survey. When the figures are confined to homes with incomes of $50,000 or more-the base for the most recent RKS survey in 2000-the interest level rises to 38 percent, a statistically significant increase from the 31 percent reported two years ago.
Among these interested consumers, three in 10 say they are likely to start the process of evaluating and acquiring generating equipment within the next five years. And most of these consumers expect to start this process even sooner, within the next two years.
“The large percentages and the upward trends in these latest findings suggest that a viable homeowners’ market is starting to emerge for on-site generating solutions,” said David J. Reichman, RKS Chairman and CEO. “These levels of interest are clearly niche markets at the present time, but now, for the first time, we are seeing evidence in this survey of strong interest backed by an expressed willingness to buy.
“This just the first step,” Reichman continued, “and what is needed now is product, plus the whole infrastructure to put machines into peoples’ hands. The question now is: what kind of businesses will make the necessary investments to serve this market?”
Two factors seem to influence consumer interest in on-site options, according to the RKS survey. First, households with actual experience or perceived problems with power reliability and quality show a willingness to invest in on-site solutions. In fact, four in 10 of households surveyed say they would be willing to pay more each month for increased power reliability.
Second, the survey uncovered a significant number of households that place a strong emphasis on independence and self-sufficiency. Indeed, more than half of these independent-minded residential customers-56 percent-express a high degree of interest in on-site power.
For this latest assessment of the residential market for on-site power, RKS completed telephone interviews with 602 heads of households during the months of April and May, 2002. Results have now been provided to sponsoring utilities, energy marketers, and energy service companies.
The full report provides an analysis of the data, focusing on the specific segments of the residential market with the highest degree of interest in on-site generation. The RKS analysis includes exclusive “Independence” and “Green” indexes to probe consumer interests, needs and purchase decision influences in greater detail.
Now in its 29th year of business, RKS Research & Consulting designs and conducts both syndicated and customized market research and public opinion polling for energy and natural resources clients, including their major associations.
RKS operates from headquarters in North Salem, NY, plus field offices in New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, and California. Further information is available on its website: www.rksresearch.com.