‘Tis the season when your loved ones ask what you need (or, in my case, your kids proclaim what they want)! In the spirit of gift-giving, we penned a letter to Energy Santa with our “wish list” of energy-related products and services. The ideas are based on results from our 2016 Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™ study, and although they apply to energy consumers in general, we’re focusing on the group nearly every company hopes Santa will deliver—Millennials.
I attended a really worthwhile meeting in San Diego this week–the annual symposium of the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC). SGCC has nearly 100 member organizations–utilities, technology companies, regulators and consumer advocates–interested in how consumers are responding to new energy distribution technologies.
Here’s some of what I found interesting:
- SGCC just published its 2013 State of the Consumer Report, which summarizes findings from its extensive research conducted in 2011-2012 by Market Strategies International and others. You can download the report free. The research topics include segmentation, awareness, favorability, prioritization of benefits, concerns and criticisms, low-income consumers, communication preferences, social media and success stories based on real-world experience.
Take a look at this short video produced by our client, the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC). In it, consumers speak for themselves about the key benefits they want from new energy technologies. Some of their comments might surprise you. The interviews were conducted as part of our “Consumer Voices” in-depth interview project for SGCC last spring. Also, SGCC produced another video and an information sheet to provide factual answers to some of the less-than-totally accurate criticisms we sometimes hear about smart meters.
One quite exciting development in energy utility research in the past five years has been the pervasive roll out of “smart meters” by electric utilities in the US. Replacing the physical, door-to-door recording of electricity consumption that was the norm for previous generations of consumers, smart meters promise a revolutionary transformation in the ways that utilities interact with their customers.
You might say that electric utilities have begun to fully embrace the “information age” with a vengeance, leaving behind the old industrial model of information collection and taking the “post-modern” leap into real-time digitalization. So, what are smart meters and what might they mean for market research?