Smart grid consumer awareness seems low in the U.S, but when the concept is explained the reaction is favourable according to the latest Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative’s (SGCC) Consumer Pulse Study.
The greatest interest is in benefits that improve reliability, are environmentally friendly, and provide information to help save money. Smart meter-enabled programs were found to appeal to the majority of people, although the willingness to pay varied by consumer segment.
This part of the study, entitled “Consumer Voices,” was based on in-depth interviews during the last week of April with 24 residential electricity customers in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Chicago across the five consumer segments that were found in an earlier phase.
The term smart grid had not been heard of by many of the participants, although some had a little knowledge of it, however when some basic information was given not one of them rejected the concept.
Participants also found positive messages about smart grid to be more credible and persuasive than negative messages. After hearing both positive and negative messages, most of the consumers wanted their utility to work quickly and implement smart grid, with the level of favorability aligned with the defining attitudes, values and characteristics of the respective consumer segments. Those most favorable were excited about the new technology to help save money, reduce energy waste and help the environment. Those neutral mentioned a few reservations connected to the negative messages included in the discussion, but none rejected smart grid implementation by their utility.