As the quantity and availability of Smart Grid/Smart Meter news and information continues to increase, a new national energy study says there is good and bad news when it comes to consumer awareness and support of the technologies.
"The good news is that a large majority of Americans—after we give them basic information about smart grid and smart meters—say it's a priority issue and strongly support the implementation of these technologies by utilities," says Jack Lloyd, vice president in the Energy division at Market Strategies International. "The bad news is that 72 percent of consumers overall admit they know little about the technologies. Less than a quarter of respondents say they fully understand the concept."
A smart grid is an electrical grid which tries to predict and logically respond to the behavior and actions of all electric power users connected to it. Whereas a smart meter records consumption of electric energy in intervals and conveys its findings back to the utility for monitoring and billing purposes.
These findings are from the first wave of the 2011 E2 (Energy + Environment) Study. Conducted by Market Strategies twice a year, the national survey is designed to gain an understanding of Americans' attitudes and opinions about energy and energy-related issues.
Americans' Smart Grid/Meter awareness hasn't increased noticeably during the past several years, despite the steady flow of information appearing in media and other outlets.
"These findings point to a clear, high-potential opportunity for electric utilities and providers of related energy products and services. With the right Smart Grid/Meter consumer education and initiatives, companies can provide useful information, significantly enhance their reputation and brand and connect with a large pool of interested, prospective customers," says Lloyd.