Seventy-nine percent of Americans said they would change their energy consumption habits because most of them (72 percent) believe that how they generate and use energy could hurt the nation’s economic growth, according to a survey commissioned by GE. Sixty-three percent also said they would work with their power company to influence change in consumption habits.
The survey also reveals that 70 percent of Americans would prefer their power company to invest in current infrastructure to make it more efficient rather than build new power-generating facilities and believe these improvements to the grid would lead to economic growth opportunities.
Eighty-eight percent of Americans said they would be willing to use a smart device such as a meter, thermostat or appliance if it would help to better manage their energy use –the same number of people who think energy investments are necessary. Eighty-two percent of those willing to use these devices believe smart meters and smart appliances are the future.
Customers support a smart grid for several reasons: to save money (95 percent), increase control over their energy bills (90 percent), to make a difference for children or grandchildren (88 percent), help reduce the number of power outages (86 percent) and environmental concerns (85 percent).
Last year, GE said smart appliances will help consumers save money on electricity, while adding only about $10 each to the cost of appliances.
The survey also finds that for consumers who don’t embrace smart-grid technologies, 27 percent said they don’t understand the benefits of smart meters or smart grids, and ten percent are hesitant to accept it. The majority of these consumers are primarily concerned about a rise in costs (62 percent) and potential privacy and security risks (61 percent).
A Pike Research report indicates that more than 250 million smart meters will be installed worldwide by 2015, representing a penetration rate of 18 percent of all electrical meters, up from 46 million in 2008. North America is expected to become the leading market in 2010, reaching 55 percent penetration of all electric meters by 2015.