EcoPinion Survey Highlights Consumer Perceptions and Expectations of Smart Grid

Americans Optimistic but Challenges to Moving Beyond Commodity Focus of Smart Meters

Santa Clara, CA – May 25, 2010 – EcoAlign, a strategic marketing agency, and Clasma Events, Inc., a global event company, released the 8th EcoPinion survey report today entitled, “Separating Smart Grid from Smart Meters,” in conjunction with the ConnectivityWeek 2010 taking place this week in Santa Clara, CA.

Approximately 70 percent of Americans are not familiar with the phrase “smart grid.”  But once consumers were given a definition, the EcoPinion survey found strong levels of consumer good will and expectation in anticipation of the smart grid rollout.  A majority of Americans (55 percent) believe that the smart grid will be of significant benefit to them.  One half of all respondents find the ability to review their own energy consumption to be extremely or very appealing.

“Consumers conceptually like the idea of smart grid,” stated Jamie Wimberly, EcoAlign’s CEO and author of the report.  “But the report also highlighted three critical challenges:  meeting consumer expectations of smart grid to lower costs or cut energy consumption; moving beyond the commodity (smart meters) to a much fuller value proposition (smart grid); and aligning the smart grid with smart communications and marketing that recognizes personal preferences and needs.”

Other top line findings include:

  • When asked to describe how smart grid makes them feel, survey respondents used words used such as “happy,” “great” and “good.”  Overall, the survey finds that consumers are much more optimistic about the benefits of smart grid than reported in the press.
  • Surveyed consumers see smart grid as primarily a means to lower and/or manage rising energy bills.
  • About one quarter of respondents think they would use the smart grid capability either daily or weekly. On average, respondents think they would use it about 12 times per month.
  • When asked if they spend more than a few minutes analyzing their utility bills, 36 percent of Americans surveyed said yes, and another 24 percent answered “it depends” if there are big changes to how much they owe or other changes to the bill.
  • Survey respondents indicated that the most preferred method of receiving information was via e-mail (57 percent).
  • Two-thirds of Americans surveyed believe that only the customer should have access to and control of their detailed energy consumption data.

“The industry has made a compelling business case for smart grid on the utility side of the meter, but we are in a period of discovery in regards to the consumer benefits of smart grid,” stated Anto Budiardjo, CEO of Clasma Events.  “The report points to the need for a more refined communications strategy as a bridge to the introduction of new products and services.” A copy of the full EcoPinion report is available at no charge.

EcoAlign is the energy and environment marketing agency. We develop and execute marketing strategies for utilities, renewable energy providers and vendors operating in the energy and environment space. We are uniquely suited to help companies achieve their business objectives, from reaching efficiency program targets and improving customer satisfaction, to launching new products, increasing market share and repositioning for growth in the clean tech space.

Clasma Events, Inc. is a global event company specializing in strategic conferences at the center of the worldwide energy discussion. With a finger on the pulse of leading industry technologies and trends, Clasma provides a stage for collaboration and cooperation amongst industry thought leaders at the forefront of the smart energy movement.  Focusing on smart grid, connectivity, and the new energy economy, Clasma’s major events include ConnectivityWeek, GridWeek, and Grid-Interop. More information on Clasma is available at www.clasma.com.

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