While we know how utility companies feel about smart grid technologies – they can help streamline the energy delivery processes, billing and outage problems that cost utilities so much money – how do consumers feel about smart grid technologies?
At least one nation’s customers – those in Canada – generally approve of the smart grid and want to be more engaged. First, though, they want to know more about the value smart grids can bring. According to a Canada-wide national online survey conducted by not-for-profit SmartGrid Canada, in partnership with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), Canadians are open to the smart grid – particularly in Ontario.
"This survey reveals a window of opportunity for our industry," Alex Bettencourt, managing director of SmartGrid Canada, told the website and magazine Renew Grid. "Canadians are, by and large, very open to the concept of smart grids and smart homes. While they may have an inkling of what it might entail, there's clearly a need for our industry to raise awareness levels through large-scale education efforts and address consumer concerns about cost, control and privacy."
To arrive at the results of the study, SmartGrid Canada interviewed 2,000 people across Canada in September. The study’s highlights include:
While favorability levels for smart grids and smart homes were high (68 percent and 69 percent, respectively), awareness levels were low. Only 27 percent of respondents to the study said they had a basic knowledge of smart grids.
Seventy-two percent of Ontarians indicated that they have changed their energy use in response to time-of-use rates, with a slightly lower percentage (69 percent) believing these efforts are having an impact on their bills.
While only 17 percent of Canadians outside of Ontario indicated that they would like to make the switch to time-of-use rates, more than half were interested in learning more about variable pricing options.
For more details of the survey and the corresponding report, click here.
Edited by Braden Becker