Study Finds Customers Want Electricity Use Information

A recent analysis by corporate and utility consulting firm E Source reveals a strong interest among residential customers in smart meter data.

Using data from the Nielsen Energy Survey, E Source found that almost 65 percent of residential customers surveyed are very (36 percent) or somewhat (29 percent) interested in seeing such information. Customers expressed interest in viewing daily and hourly energy use online, on a smart phone or on a display as well as seeing the energy use of each appliance.

Customers were also asked whether they would pay for electricity use information.

According to Michael Peacock, E Source Smart Grid program director, “15 percent of the population would be willing to pay up to $10 per month. About 27 percent are willing to pay $5 per month, and 47 percent would pay $1 per month.”

Age affects willingness to pay. Around 37 percent of customers ages 18–34 would be willing to pay $5 per month, whereas only 9 percent of customers 55 or older would be willing to pay that much.

Household income affected customers’ willingness to buy smart meter information as well. The lowest income group (earning $25,000 a year or less) had a slightly higher desire at all price points than their higher-income counterparts.

“This likely indicates a need for lower-income households to better manage their monthly bills, and to do that, they need better information. Similarly, we found renters to be slightly more interested in smart meter information than homeowners,” Peacock said.

Finally, customers’ interest is influenced by their individual satisfaction with the utility.

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