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Consumers wary of utility electricity management plans

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Consumers are wary of utilities efforts to remotely limit use of appliances as part of electricity management plans---unless there's a steep discount, according to a survey by Accenture.

Consumers are wary of utilities' efforts to remotely limit use of appliances as part of electricity management plans---unless there's a steep discount, according to a survey by Accenture.

The survey, which queried more than 9,000 consumers in 17 countries, examined consumer attitudes toward energy management plans. Under energy management plans, utilities would remotely limit the use of appliances.

Accenture's survey is notable as government groups are hoping that consumers can help them cut carbon footprints. Reuters noted that Japan is hoping policies can get households to use low-carbon technologies.

Accenture found that only 16 percent of consumers would allow utilities to limit the use of appliances if they had no override and no discount. However, 24 percent of respondents said they would give utilities remote control over their energy use with a discount of 10 percent. Thirty-five percent of consumers would give utilities control with a discount of 20 percent.

In other words, energy management programs are a tough sell. Forty six percent of consumers thought these programs would lead to higher bills and 32 percent had privacy worries.

Among other key points:

  • Seventy five percent of consumers said they understood the steps needed to optimize electricity consumption, but 28 percent knew about programs to help them cut energy use.
  • Only 29 percent of consumers trusted utility advice on energy consumption.
  • And 20 percent of consumers said they trusted online service providers to advise them on cutting electricity consumption.

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Larry Dignan

Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan is editor-in-chief of SmartPlanet and ZDNet. He is also editorial director of TechRepublic. Previously, he was an editor at eWeek, Baseline and CNET News. He has written for WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, New York Times and Financial Planning. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Delaware. He is based in New York but resides in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure