Consumers in the Dark on The Smart Grid

Utility companies the nation over are talking a lot these days about the smart grid innovations that will allow for greater efficiency and cash savings for consumers. But according to a new survey by the cleantech specialists at Pike Research, utilities are not talking about the smart grid in intelligible terms to the people who matter most.

The new report, entitled “Smart Grid Consumer Survey”, analyzes consumer demand, preferences, attitudes, and price sensitivity related to four key areas with relation to smart grid innovations:  smart meters, home energy management, demand response, and smart appliances.  It’s based on a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults and includes a detailed examination of demand dynamics, segmented by various demographic and behavioral groups.

power lines

image via Zine Press

The survey found, unsurprisingly, a direct correlation between an individual’s level of education concerning smart grid innovations and his or her favorable views towards the technology. Of those surveyed, 56% described themselves as “not very” or “not at all” familiar with smart meters, and among this group, the number of respondents with favorable views was low. 59% of all surveyed feared that the implementation of smart meters would increase their energy bills–despite the fact that smart meters, when used in conjunction with home energy management systems, have been shown to decrease utility bills. (Though Maryland’s recent example is cautionary on this account.)

This survey’s results are largely in keeping with a recent smart grid study published by J.D. Power and Associates.

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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.

  • Ronnie Smith

    To force devices producing pulsed radiofrequency radiation on people’s homes, schools and businesses without their informed, express consent is unAmerican. Even people who say they do not want these dubious, untested devices are being FORCED to have them against their wishes. Some people are getting sick, and all are at risk for non-thermal effects of chronic exposure to pulsed RF.

    Involuntary exposure to pulsed RF from a device forced on your own building ought to be illegal. It is actually quite tyrannical. I do not want these meters but am forced. This is not America anymore. It is some super-collectivist system where individuals are expendable. Amazing.

  • Soapbox Jill

    It truly feels like a communist country to be forced to have these devices against our will in order to get utility services.