Smart Meter User Motivations Revealed

Are you part of the innovator, automate or indifferent crowd? According to a recent J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Smart Energy Consumer Behavioral Segmentation Study, customers’ behaviors toward smart grid technologies can be grouped by the amount of control they want to take over their energy savings.

For instance, folks in the  “innovator” segment  are people who make significant out-of-pocket investments resulting in  large environmental and financial benefits. The “automate” segment are people who like to let the utility companies manage their thermostat in exchange for cost savings. And the “indifferent” segment, are those who are not likely to make any actions toward energy management on their own.

image via Shutterstock

By first recognizing the distinctions in electric customers behavior, researchers believe utility companies can help encourage more customers to start using energy technologies like smart grids and smart meters. Some customers will want to earn points for reducing their energy consumption and then be able to redeem their points for cash or merchandise. Still other customers,  are more interested in knowing the amount of energy they use and the steps they need to take to make reductions.

The study, which was based on responses from 38,090 households served by 75 of the largest U.S. utility brands, is the first  in a series of smart energy consumer engagement research studies that will take place.

“Rather than focusing on how customers perceive smart energy, the key to creating engagement lies in understanding the kinds of behaviors that different types of customers will undertake—behaviors that utilities hope to encourage,” said Peter Shaw, senior director of the smart energy practice at J.D. Power and Associates, in a statement. “This provides an efficient framework for optimizing effective customer education and engagement strategies designed to introduce smart energy behaviors to large, diverse customer populations.”

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Kristy Hessman is a writer and native Oregonian who currently resides in California. Before starting her own company, she worked as a reporter covering business and politics for daily newspapers and The Associated Press.


  • Reply October 26, 2011


    Generally, electric bills are not high enough and savings too insignificant to financially incentivize anyone to wholesale change their behaviors from economic benefits alone. And the eco benefits of all these meters are too abstract to motivate the true greenies who would be better off going fully off-the-grid with their own solar installations. That leaves the giant middle who just don’t care.

  • Reply October 26, 2011

    Robert Williams

    SMART METER PRIVACY VIOLATIONS.nn1. Must-See 4-minute youtube video on Smart metersnnu2028

  • Reply October 27, 2011

    Inside Nine

    “Indifference” is not an option for those who experience ongoing symptoms from wireless smart meters. Where do they get to go to be away from them? They wonder what kind of world we live in where something so obviously damaging to them can be allowed to proliferate. They also worry about the rest of the world’s population who will suffer long term effects from these obviously damaging devices as all are constantly exposed to them

  • Reply October 28, 2011

    Jason R. Tuck, GISP

    I recently wrote a blog post about the Top 3 Reasons the Smart Grid Has Not Taken Off -u00a0 like these studies/surveys may ultimately provide more insight into why the smart grid is not adopted at a faster pace.u00a0

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