Posting in Design
An IBM survey found that when it comes to energy, consumers are a little dim. And that presents a formidable challenge to smart grid companies and utilities.
IBM's 2011 Global Utility Consumer Survey released Thursday found when it comes to energy smarts, consumers can be a bit dim. And that lack of basic energy knowledge not only makes it tough for utilities and smart grid companies, but prevents folks from saving energy and money.
IBM surveyed 10,000 people across 15 countries on consumers' energy wants and needs. The survey found a sizable gap between what consumers know and what they should in order to benefit from smart grid energy initiatives designed to boost efficiency, cut waste and save money.
That's bad news for the companies that have piled into the smart grid industry to develop energy saving gadgets, web tools and software. In short, it's hard to turn consumers onto your smart grid product if they don't know what you're talking about.
A few of the key findings:
- More than 30 percent polled have never heard of the term "dollar per kilowatt hour;"
- More than 60 percent don't know the meaning of the terms smart grid or smart meters;
- More than half don't know if their utilities has a green energy program;
- Almost a quarter of those who participate in green energy programs have no idea if they pay a premium for that power or how much more they pay.
"There have been major strides with new energy saving technologies, new programs and incentives, but in many cases the market is seeing more confusion amongst consumers than expected, IBM President of Global Energy and Utilities Michael Valocchi said in a release.
The power of friends and social media
The good news? Folks want to conserve energy. And the survey found a few ways utilities can reach and educate consumers.
Consumers were influenced by saving money, although the survey found it was no longer the dominating factor. The environment and the impact on the economy also weighed heavily on folks.
The No. 1 single influence on the consumer was an insert in their energy bill. However, the combination of traditional media, social media and the opinions of friends and family outweighed the influence of a bill insert.
Friends and family were especially powerful with young people. Consumers under 25 years old are three times more likely to make decisions on energy based on family and friends advice, Valocchi said in a company-produced Youtube video. In other words, utilities' ability to influence all of its consumers might not be as authoritative as once thought.
But that's OK, because the survey found a few weapons against consumer ignorance, one as simple as presenting a limited number of choices in basic language. It also suggested tapping into people's inherent social nature and their reliance on the behavior of others to determine what choice to make. That's where the consumer portals -- a tool that let's people see and compare their energy use to neighbors -- can come in.
Here's the whole Youtube interview with Vallocchi:
Aug 25, 2011
It's difficult for consumers to get unbiased information that allows them to compare and evaluate clean energy systems. More importantly, most consumers are unaware of the significant returns these systems deliver. Fortunately, the industry is starting to realize that these information gaps are slowing growth. Check out: http://energysage.com/blog/welcome-energysagecom
We keep the house at 84 degrees during the day, then drop it to 82 after 7 pm (end of peak electricty period), then 80 at night. This has saved a huge amount of energy during our record-setting broiling summer hear in Texas. Some other things such as "bundling" errands and recycling everything that can be recycled are so easy. i get really angry when I think about all the selfish waste around me.
"More than 30 percent polled have never heard of the term ???dollar per kilowatt hour" Call it home economics, basic finance or what ever you want, but basic banking skills including an understanding of loans, interest, savings, checkbook balancing, plus a review of what common utility bills looked like and how to understand them was a required class in every high school until at least until the early 1980s.
...even with an advanced degree without knowing such necessary things to survive in today's world. But that's what happens when politicians run most of our schools. Years ago, we were on a trip with some friends with a high-schooler. She was doing her "DARE" homework, which required her to memorize the 60 slang terms for crack cocaine. I kid you not. Most of her classmates could not list for you the 50 states, but thank gawd our kids know all the slang terms for an illegal drug. My guess is that today's high school kids know all the vital stats about CO2 and "global warming", but would give you a blank stare in response to a question about compound interest or what a kilowatt hour is. Such a sorry education only prepares them for a life of exploitation by politicians and the financial industry.
Hates Idiots -- A worthy suggestion. Unfortunately, the home economics class as you knew it has faded into history. Not all school districts lack basic finance curriculum. However, it oftentimes shows up as an elective, not a required course. At least, that's what I discovered back in my education reporter days (early 2000s). Kirsten Korosec Smart Planet