Poll: People Would Cut Back Electric Usage If Knew Real Time Details

If you were aware of how much energy you were using in a given minute, hour, day, week, or month, as well as the cost associated with that usage, would you feel more inclined to cut back on unnecessary electricity usage? The Harris Poll, a survey conducted by Harris Interactive, suggests that many electricity users would be willing to reduce their electricity usage if such minute-by-minute usage statistics were made available to them, but those same results also revealed that many consumers aren’t even aware that such information exists.

As detailed in a Harris Interactive-issued release, The Harris Poll was conducted between January 18 and 25, 2010. Encompassing responses from 2,576 adults, 68 percent of those polled were not familiar with the term smart grid, electricity delivered from suppliers via two-way digital technology designed to control appliances and save energy; while 63 percent had not heard of smart meters, a meter that conveys more detailed consumption information that is sent back to a local utility for monitoring and billing purposes. Tying in to the aforementioned percentages, many adults (approximately two in every set of five) were unable to agree or disagree on the statement “The electricity system is fine the way it is and Smart Grid is not necessary.”

boulder co smart grid

Image via Xcel Energy

Among all the various percentages, is there anything that was considered 100 percent unanimous? Indeed: an obvious need for such information to be more widely delivered. In agreement is Tish Pasqual, Senior Research Director for Harris Interactive Business and Industrial. “While the need for and benefits of Smart Grid and Smart Meter may seem obvious to industry insiders,” Pasqual said, “this is not the case with consumers. In light of the huge investments about to be made that ratepayers will ultimately be responsible for, utility companies need to formulate, test, and launch a sustained communication strategy.”