The #1 reason consumers hate the smart grid is ignorance

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By: SGN Staff

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Quick Take: Our industry has spent years thrashing about as we look for solutions to consumer backlash. We've come up with dozens of sophisticated customer engagement programs and outreach efforts. But a recent survey from Canada suggests that the most effective solution is simple education. At the risk of oversimplification, I'd summarize the key finding as "people are afraid of things they don't understand." So if you want consumers to accept the smart grid, first you have to help them understand it.

 

Although I agree with this common-sense finding, I find myself suspicious of the survey's findings about the number one factor in electricity decisions. The survey cites cost, comfort and environment as the top three. Yet my experience shows that choice and control are generally far more important than environmental concerns. This makes me wonder if the survey used multiple choice questions that left out some of the most important selections, thereby skewing the results.

 

Download a summary presentation if you want to review the study for yourself.

- By Jesse Berst

 

Smart Grid Survey Points to Need for Industry to Better Engage Canadian Consumers

 

TORONTO, Sept. 25, 2013 /CNW/ - While most Canadians have a limited understanding of smart grids, they become increasingly favorable once they have a better understanding of them, according to new research released by SmartGrid Canada.

 

"Consumers have the potential to use smart grid technologies at home to better manage their energy - which helps keeps electricity bill down, but can also deliver broader efficiencies to the system, " said Alex Bettencourt, Managing Director of SmartGrid Canada. "These results clearly point to the need to bring the consumer into the conversation about smart grids. We need to make the make the benefits of smart grids real for them."

 

At first, only 31 per cent of survey respondents indicated that they had at least a basic understanding of smart grids, with only 27 per cent stating that they were favourable to the concept.  Once survey respondents were provided a brief definition of smart grids, favourability increased to 54 per cent.

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