A survey of the opinions of electricity consumers finds that customers believe that they have enough information to make smart energy choices, yet do not know if such programs are offered by their utilities.
According to the findings of a new report by Accenture, some European electricity consumers are more likely than North Americans to believe that electricity consumption has a negative impact on the environment.
Of electricity users in the U.S. and Canada, between 38 percent and 37 percent agree with this opinion. In countries such as Germany and Denmark, that opinion is held by a 59 percent majority of those polled.
A majority of consumers believe that they understand how to make the most of their electricity consumption. In the U.S., 77 percent of those asked believe they understand enough about electricity to control their consumption. The users most confident in their energy efficiency know-how were from the Netherlands (86 percent), France (85 percent) and Canada (83 percent).
However, as confident as they were about knowing how to optimize their electricity use, only about 34 percent of survey participants know of any specific programs that enable them to do so. Another 34 percent say they have heard of programs, but do not know what they are.
Even those who have heard of energy-saving programs, half of respondents do not know whether their own electricity provider offers them. A scant 12 percent reported they are both aware of such a program and have enrolled in one.
A large majority of those polled are looking to utilities and electric providers for the answer on how they can manage their energy use. Yet, these same consumers do not necessarily view utilities and electricity providers as trusted advisors on energy efficiency.
Some organizations that rank as more trusted than utilities include consumer associations, environmental groups and scientific or academic organizations.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the top factor that consumers say would impact their behavior is money. A full 52 percent of those surveyed said they would be discouraged from using electricity management programs if it increased the size of their electric bills.
An even greater percentage of people (86 percent) said a cut in their bills would motivate them to adopt an energy management program.