Sixty-seven percent of consumers polled across six countries – Australia, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States – would be more willing to pay for eco-friendly energy, according to Plugging in the Consumer: Innovating utility business models for the future, a report from IBM Global Business Services that forecasts how changes in energy customers’ expectations will impact the utility industry’s business model in the next five to ten years.
Australians are most willing to pay a premium for green power, but, surprisingly, Americans are most willing to pay a sizable premium, up to an additional 20 percent or more.
But while the environment is important, cost and quality are still more important considerations for consumers in their choice of products.
While carbon footprints and other analyses of personal environmental impact have attracted widespread attention, 75 percent of consumers surveyed outside the U.S. have not performed one – and only 15 percent of U.S. consumers have done this.
Most consumers want the option to choose their electric or gas utility provider (83 percent of those surveyed), but the majority reported either they cannot or do not know they can. A full one quarter of consumers who have renewable power options available to them actually purchase renewable power, and most of those who do not have renewable power options (65 percent) said they would like the option to do so.
The survey also found that the promise of reduced energy costs would impact how and when consumers heat and cool their homes, do their laundry and cook their meals. Of those surveyed, 84 percent said that a 50 percent reduction in energy cost during off-peak hours was the most important. Sixty-one percent would change their energy-consuming behavior in response to claims that there would be a positive environmental impact from such changes, and this would rise to 65 percent if such benefits could be demonstrated.