Parks Associates Blog

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

U.S. consumers still unaware of smart grid benefits

Parks Associates research indicates over 40% of consumers unfamiliar with term “Smart Grid.”

Consumer knowledge of smart grid technologies is low, even as utilities have deployed 13 million smart meters to U.S. households. In the report, “Residential Energy Management: Opportunities for Digital Systems and Services,” only 11% of U.S. consumers are familiar with the term “Smart Grid.” This low awareness poses a risk to future deployment plans and opens the door for communications service providers to grab market share from utilities by offering their own energy monitoring solutions.

Utilities plan to deploy more than 50 million smart meters by 2014, but they need to improve their educational outreach if they want consumers to embrace this technology.

Consumers in Texas and California have filed lawsuits in which they blame smart meters for unexpected hikes in their electricity bills. The backlash from these stories threatens customer compliance with future smart grid deployments and could disrupt utility plans to create a more robust, interconnected grid that offers advanced services such as monitoring and time-of-use billing.

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