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CEA Survey Finds Consumers Want Smart, Energy-Efficient Technologies But Lack Knowledge of Current Electricity Management Systems
Arlington, VA – 06/02/2011 – A new survey from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® found consumers are concerned about the cost of their energy use, yet lack awareness of emerging energy management systems.

While many consumers turn lights off, shop for energy efficient devices and practice other eco-friendly practices, just 10.2 million of 119 million U.S. households are estimated to have enrolled in electricity management programs. Utility companies, the study found, are in the best position to raise awareness of these programs to boost consumers’ understanding of energy consumption.

Currently, energy management systems allow consumers to control their home air conditioning and heating units through a programmable display. In the future, a smart grid would enable consumers to adjust home cooling and heating systems with a smartphone, run their dishwashers at times of low energy costs, or control home appliances remotely, among other applications. CEA member companies, including utilities and manufacturers of smart grid electronics, are advancing the deployment of smart grid systems across the country through CEA’s new Smart Grid Working Group.

“Our research shows consumers are interested in how electricity management programs could reduce their monthly electric bills,” said Steve Koenig, director of industry analysis for CEA. “However, our survey found there is little difference in the bills of those enrolled in electricity management programs and those who are not; which indicates further development by industry, utilities and government is needed to realize the vision of a smart grid that could bring about more meaningful cost savings to consumers.”

      Level of Concern - Electricity Use

 

Concerned

Not Concerned

Cost of electric bill

60%

21%

Amount of electricity used by electronics

38%

36%

Aware of electricity management programs

Yes

No

36%

64%

 

 

The survey of 1,250 adults, conducted in April, sought to better understand consumer awareness and attitudes regarding energy management and how energy efficiency gains in consumer electronics products have changed purchasing habits. More than half (55%) of consumers expressed interest in an electricity management program sponsored by a utility or electric company. Consumers also indicated they would prefer to use a device in the home (41%), an online portal (41%) or a mobile device (32%) to monitor energy use.

Looking forward, 46% of respondents aware of electricity management programs available in their area expressed an interest in enrolling in the coming years. Many more expressed interest in buying efficient consumer electronics devices. The research also showed those with energy management systems had slightly lower electricity costs, although much greater energy savings is possible when a truly interactive smart grid comes online.

 

Average household electricity cost

Enrolled in program

Not enrolled

Spring

$109

$112

Summer

$141

$152

Fall

$114

$118

Winter

$137

$146

Average

$125

$132

 

Familiarity with Smart Grid

Aware

Unaware

27%

66%

“There are no silver bullets to advancing energy management solutions and eventually creating a smart grid that will allow consumers to remotely monitor and control products and appliances in their home,” said Ben Arnold, senior research analyst for CEA. “Marketing efforts need to focus on the cost savings of these systems to get consumers’ attention, but at the same time, consumers must be willing to adjust their electricity consumption habits and invest in energy efficient technology.”

Enrolled in an electricity management program

Yes

No

24%

75%

The survey (available here) follows a recent CEA whitepaper recommending new policies to improve the way Americans understand and manage energy consumption. The comprehensive whitepaper, “Unlocking the Potential of the Smart Grid – A Regulatory Framework for the Consumer Domain of Smart Grid,” called for dynamic pricing programs and real-time consumption and pricing information to reduce energy usage and improve consumer awareness of consumption practices. Such developments could reduce consumption by as much as 20% and these changes are necessary so consumer electronics manufacturers can create the innovative devices of tomorrow that will empower consumers to take control of their energy consumption.

 

About CEA

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the $186 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,000 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also owns and produces the International CES – The Global Stage for Innovation. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA’s industry services. Find CEA online at CE.org and Innovation-Movement.com.

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