Smart grid success tactics: 70% of Americans favor infrastructure investments for security

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By: SGN Staff

Quick Take: For a while now I have felt that the electric power industry has a major problem – namely, its poor skills in telling its own story. Modernizing the grid has a long list of business and societal benefits. But far too often, we fail to communicate those benefits in terms consumers can relate to. For instance, until Hurricane Sandy, many utilities were not connecting grid upgrades with reliability improvements.

 

Today, many utilities fail to connect grid upgrades with national security – yet here is a Zogby poll that says a full 70% of Americans support infrastructure investment for national security. (See the press release below.) So what? So this – when you are talking to regulators and ratepayers, you should be drawing the line between grid modernization and improved security. The country wants what we provide – if we'll just explain it to them. - By Jesse Berst

 

Few Americans worry about emergency situations occurring in their community; only one in three have an emergency plan; 70% support infrastructure ‘investment’ for national security

 

One in four Americans and less are concerned that an emergency situation like a terrorist attack, natural disaster, or health pandemic will affect their community, according to a new SUNYIT/Zogby Analytics Poll released today at “Safety and Security in the Global Age,” a two-day conference on the SUNYIT campus for academics and professionals concerned with safety and security issues.

 

The poll of 1,000 adults nationwide was conducted online by Zogby Analytics on May 8-9 and has a margin of sampling error of +/-3.2 percentage points. A wide range of national security topics was covered.

 

When asked of the likelihood if a series of emergency situations were to occur in their community, the following percentages said the emergency was “likely” or “very likely”: 26% a general emergency, 24% an industrial accident, 23% a natural disaster, 20% a mass shooting, 19% a terrorist attack, and 15% a health pandemic.

 

If such an emergency situation were to occur, the most likely locations cited were a shopping mall (46%), an airport or train station (43%), a stadium or arena (42%), on a bus/plane or train (38%), an outdoor sporting or community event (35%), a school (30%), a roadway (28% ) or office building (28%), a bridge (27%), a hospital (25%), or at home (22%).

 

While 55% of respondents said that they were “confident in (their) knowledge of proper safety procedures," only 36% said that they presently “have an emergency plan in place” in case of a major emergency.

 

In case of a neighborhood emergency, Americans expressed more confidence in their family’s preparedness (53%) over local government (44%), their airport (41%), local school (39%), or employer (31%). In case of a national emergency, Americans are most trusting in local law enforcement in case of a shooting (58%), the FBI in case of a terrorist attack (53%), the Centers for Disease Control in case of a pandemic (49%), and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration in case of a natural disaster (45%).

 

What are Americans prepared to give up in terms of privacy and convenience to combat terrorism? In several situations tested, Americans gave little support to retinal scans and searches of personal items – but there were some differences depending on the specific situations. A majority (58%) supported bag searches at airports and train stations. Armed security was more acceptable at airports and train stations (49%) but not at office buildings (23%), hospitals (32%), schools (34%), and shopping malls (38%). And metal detectors are fine at airports and train stations (63%), but not anywhere else – only 43% approved them at schools.

The poll tested a number of techniques to determine whether Americans would support them as a routine in everyday life:

 

  • Background checks for purchases of all firearms and large amounts of ammunition – 64%
  • Mandatory national fingerprinting – 47%
  • Registration and permits for products used in making bombs – 47%
  • Security cameras at all intersections on public roads – 46%
  • National identification cards for all adults – 42%
  • Microchips for all felons who have served prison time for violent crimes – 34%
  • National identification cards for all Americans – 27%

 

Pollster John Zogby: “Americans feel they are knowledgeable about preparation for emergency/disaster situations but only one in three have actual preparedness plans. When it comes to such situations, all emergency relief is local – i.e. Americans trust family and local law enforcement more than government or larger institutions. We seek and trust the familiar more than the agencies we support by taxes. This country was founded on personal liberty and more than a decade after the events of 9-11and only weeks after the Boston Marathon bombings, Americans are not too willing to give up many of those liberties.”

 

SUNYIT President Bjong Wolf Yeigh: “We are pleased to inaugurate the SUNYIT/Zogby Analytics Poll with an examination of issues that are important to every American. The findings certainly provide food for thought and a starting point for discussion in many areas. I want to thank John Zogby and Zogby Analytics for their expertise, insight and analysis. We look forward to the continuation of our partnership and the exploration of important topics in future SUNYIT/Zogby Analytics Polls.”

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