In a recent national survey commissioned by General Electric and conducted by applied research and consulting firm StrategyOne, 79% of Americans said they would adjust their energy consumption habits and behaviors in the short term to effect change long term, possibly because most of them (72%) believe that how they generate and use energy today could actually harm the economic growth of the country. A full 63% noted they would work with their power company to influence change in consumption habits.

The survey also indicates that Americans will respond positively to “smart” appliances that are empowered by “smart” meters offering new pricing models, which will result in a fundamental shift in how energy is consumed.

When it comes to making investments to overcome energy challenges, 70 % of Americans agreed they would prefer that their power company invest in current infrastructure to make it more efficient rather than build new power-generating facilities, and believe these improvements to the grid would lead to economic growth opportunities.

Eighty-eight percent of Americans said they would be willing to use a smart device such as a meter, thermostat, or appliance if it would help to better manage their energy usage — the same number of people who think energy investments are a necessity. Better yet, 82% of those willing to use these devices believe smart meters and smart appliances are the future.

Some of the primary motivators for consumers’ smart grid support include:

  • Desire to save money (95%)
  • Increased control over their energy bill (90%)
  • Desire to make a difference for their children or grandchildren (88%)
  • Helping reduce the number of power outages (86%)
  • Environmental concerns (85%)
According to Bob Gilligan, vice president—digital energy for GE Energy Services, “For those consumers that do not currently embrace smart grid technologies, more than a quarter of them (27%) admit that they don’t understand the benefits of smart meters or smart grids. Therefore, it is important that continued consumer-friendly education is provided to address this gap in understanding.”

Despite significant consumer endorsement of the development and deployment of a smart grid and the end benefits that it will deliver, a minority (10%) is still hesitant to accept it as the way forward. The majority of these consumers are primarily concerned about a rise in costs (62%) and potential privacy and security risks (61%).

The survey was conducted by StrategyOne in June 2010 through telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 U.S. consumers. The margin of error for the sample is ±3.1% at the 95% level of confidence.

Source: General Electric