What sorts of benefits boost support for smart meters and smart-grid technologies? A consumer survey finds that saving money, reducing wasted energy and promoting...

What sorts of benefits boost support for smart meters and smart-grid technologies? A consumer survey finds that saving money, reducing wasted energy and promoting greater US energy independence rank at the top of the list.

The survey of 1,200 residential consumers, conducted for the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) by Market Strategies International, found that 56 percent of respondents said saving money “strongly increases” their support for smart-energy technologies (another 24 percent said that “somewhat” increases their support). Fifty-five percent expressed the same opinion for the benefits of cutting wasted energy (25 percent said “somewhat”) and boosting the nation’s energy independence (23 percent “somewhat”).

Those perceived benefits don’t have much of an edge over other perceived pluses of smart-grid technology, though, including protecting the environment (53 percent said it strongly increases their support, while another 25 percent said it somewhat increases their support), enabling more reliable electricity service (53 percent “strongly,” 27 percent “somewhat”), gaining greater control of home energy use (47 percent “strongly”, 28 percent “somewhat”) and getting more rate and billing choices (46 percent “strongly”, 29 percent “somewhat”).

“We’ve found consumers to be remarkably consistent in their evaluation of the benefits commonly associated with the smart grid and smart meters,” said Patty Durand, executive director of the SGCC. “The fact that respondents rated practical and financial concerns on par with environmental, conservation and energy independence issues tells much about what consumers value and the factors that may influence their energy decisions.”

Understanding the drivers of adoption can help energy and technology providers develop messages and programs that meet consumer needs, according to the SGCC.

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