Report: Consumers Want Significant Discounts For Energy Efficiency

The big news from the smart grid future? Consumers don’t want an electricity allowance unless there’s some kick-back in terms of their bill, according to a report issued today by Accenture. Unsurprisingly, the report found that almost half of consumers would be deterred from joining electricity management programs if their electricity bills were to increase as a result.

The study, entitled “Understanding Consumer Preferences in Energy Efficiency,” was based on a global survey of more than 9,000 consumers in 17 countries and will no doubt be scrutinized by utility companies the world over in developing electricity management plans by which to meet the greenhouse gas reductions increasingly mandated by governments. The study found that while some consumers are open to the idea of moving to plans in which suppliers can actively help households use energy more efficiently through the remote limiting of when home appliances are used — they demand large price discounts in return.

Appliances

image via Carter Services

Here’s how the numbers break down: only 16% of consumers said they would allow electricity providers to remotely limit their use of certain household appliances if they have no option to reverse the action taken by the provider and if no price discount were offered; with a 10% price discount, one in four respondents said they would give utilities such control; with a 20% price discount, one in three respondents agreed. The study also shows considerable confusion amongst consumers when it comes to energy management plans and their price implications, as well as a desire to conserve energy (while saving money) not for the sake of the utility, but for the sake of the environment.  A third were also concerned about giving their electricity provider greater access to their personal electricity consumption data.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.