More poll evidence that Americans are unfamiliar with smart grid

Santa Clara, Calif., May 25, 2010 — About 70 percent of Americans are not familiar with the phrase “smart grid,” according to a survey report by EcoAlign.

The report, titled, “Separating Smart Grid from Smart Meters,” found that while the vast majority of consumers polled were not aware of the phrase “smart grid,”

Once consumers were given a definition, the EcoPinion survey found strong levels of consumer good will and expectation in anticipation of the smart grid rollout.

A majority of Americans (55 percent) believe that the smart grid will be of significant benefit to them. One half of all respondents find the ability to review their own energy consumption to be extremely or very appealing.

“Consumers conceptually like the idea of smart grid,” stated Jamie Wimberly, EcoAlign’s CEO and author of the report. “But the report also highlighted three critical challenges: meeting consumer expectations of smart grid to lower costs or cut energy consumption; moving beyond the commodity (smart meters) to a much fuller value proposition (smart grid); and aligning the smart grid with smart communications and marketing that recognizes personal preferences and needs.”

Other findings include:

* When asked to describe how smart grid makes them feel, survey respondents used words used such as “happy,” “great” and “good”. Overall, the survey finds that consumers are much more optimistic about the benefits of smart grid than reported in the press.

* Surveyed consumers see smart grid as primarily a means to lower and/or manage rising energy bills.

* About one quarter of respondents think they would use the smart grid capability either daily or weekly. On average, respondents think they would use it about 12 times per month.

* When asked if they spend more than a few minutes analyzing their utility bills, 36 percent of Americans surveyed said yes, and another 24 percent answered “it depends” if there are big changes to how much they owe or other changes to the bill.

* Survey respondents indicated that the most preferred method of receiving information was via e-mail (57 percent).

* Two-thirds of Americans surveyed believe that only the customer should have access to and control of their detailed energy consumption data.

“The industry has made a compelling business case for smart grid on the utility side of the meter, but we are in a period of discovery in regards to the consumer benefits of smart grid,” stated Anto Budiardjo, CEO of Clasma Events. “The report points to the need for a more refined communications strategy as a bridge to the introduction of new products and services.”

EcoAlign is an energy and environment marketing agency that develops and executes marketing strategies for utilities, renewable energy providers and vendors operating in the energy and environment space.



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