Low-income energy consumers are less aware of electricity grid modernization technology than the general population but they find its benefits compelling nonetheless, concludes a new Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) research study. Spotlight on Low Income Consumers is one in a series of national SGCC surveys designed to track U.S. consumers’ awareness, favorability and understanding of smart grid.
“Every consumer, regardless of socioeconomic status, should be aware of the benefits of smart grid,” said Patty Durand, SGCC Executive Director. “By educating low income consumers about these benefits and acknowledging their preferences, utilities have an opportunity to capitalize on untapped potential for demand reduction across the grid.”
The study highlights low income consumers’ smart grid awareness and opinions, receptivity to various smart grid-enabled pricing programs and communication needs. The nationally representative findings portray a consumer who may currently be unaware or skeptical about smart grid and smart meter technology but who is likely to be interested in dynamic pricing and the smart grid’s potential to increase the reliability of power delivery, among other benefits.
Low-income consumers are also likely to have unique media preferences related to native language, ownership of electronic devices and varying degrees of Internet access. Based on survey findings, the report offers suggestions for utilities seeking to reach these consumers with tailored smart grid outreach materials and programs.
Spotlight on Low Income Consumers was developed via a national telephone survey conducted between July 28 and Aug. 14, 2012 by Market Strategies International, polling over 1,000 energy consumers designated as heads of low income households. Aggregate survey data was weighted by age, ethnicity, gender and region to align with low income population parameters. The margin of error for the total sample size is ±3.1 percentage points at a confidence level of 95%.