The Motivations of Consumers Who Use or Avoid Smart Grid Applications

Dec. 17, 2015
In this podcast, Patty Durand, executive director of the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative, shares the results of a study that categorizes consumers in terms of how they use–or avoid–smart grid applications. The most recent version of the study includes in-depth, on-camera interviews with consumers.

In this podcast (see player above), Patty Durand, executive director of the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative, shares the results of a study that categorizes consumers in terms of how they use–or avoid–smart grid applications.

The most recent version of the study includes in-depth, on-camera interviews with consumers.

With the on-camera interviews, the study, Consumer Voices shows what factors affect consumers’ choices about smart grid, smart meters and the associated products and services.

The study found that while most consumers don’t know a lot about the smart-grid enabled technologies, they appreciate their benefits. “Consumers expressed the strongest interest in the increased reliability that is associated with the smart grid, as well as the environmental benefits for their community, and the economic benefits that come with smarter energy management,” said a press release from the collaborative.

The study divides consumers into five groups, some of which have changed since the last version of the study. They include Green Champions, people who care about the environment and are knowledgable about climate change, said Durand in the interview. The second group are the savings seekers, people who don’t care so much about the environment but use smart grid-associated tools to save money.

New categories in the study that identify consumer preferences include status quo types–elderly and conservative people who are not interested in technology and don’t want anything to change, said Durand. In addition, the study identified a technology-cautious group, people who aren’t sure how technology can help them. A final group is the movers and shakers, people who are early technology adopters and who would leave the utility if they could.

Green champions made up 30 percent of those studied and movers and shakers made up 15 percent of those studied, she said.

Listen to the podcast to hear Durand’s recommendations for how to approach these different types of consumers.

About the Author

Lisa Cohn | Contributing Editor

I focus on the West Coast and Midwest. Email me at [email protected]

I’ve been writing about energy for more than 20 years, and my stories have appeared in EnergyBiz, SNL Financial, Mother Earth News, Natural Home Magazine, Horizon Air Magazine, Oregon Business, Open Spaces, the Portland Tribune, The Oregonian, Renewable Energy World, Windpower Monthly and other publications. I’m also a former stringer for the Platts/McGraw-Hill energy publications. I began my career covering energy and environment for The Cape Cod Times, where Elisa Wood also was a reporter. I’ve received numerous writing awards from national, regional and local organizations, including Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Willamette Writers, Associated Oregon Industries, and the Voice of Youth Advocates. I first became interested in energy as a student at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, where I helped design and build a solar house.

Twitter: @LisaECohn

Linkedin: LisaEllenCohn

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