Smart grids: Consumers skeptical about costs, security

Sixty-eight percent of consumers have never heard of the smart grid and 63 percent draw a blank about smart meters, according to a poll by Harris Interactive. Meanwhile, consumers think smart grids will increase costs and be more insecure.

Sixty-eight percent of consumers have never heard of the smart grid and 63 percent draw a blank about smart meters, according to a poll by Harris Interactive. Meanwhile, consumers think smart grids will increase costs and be more insecure.

The Harris poll, conducted between Jan. 18 and 25, surveyed 2,576 adults.

Smart grids and meters generally are designed to provide a continuous power feedback loop. In theory, these systems will help consumers monitor and regulate their power usage and electricity providers handle spikes in demand.

Harris shows that the smart grid movement has a few hurdles to overcome.

Here's a look at the Harris findings with key findings highlighted (click to enlarge):

So what can we learn from this survey?

  • First, few consumers will pay extra for a smart grid.
  • There is hope that smart grids would alter consumer behavior so they would conserve power.
  • There are significant security worries about the smart grid.

What's also notable is that the worries about the smart grid persist even when consumers are familiar with the technology. To wit:

  • 51 percent of those familiar with smart grids said they strongly or somewhat agreed with the idea that the technology would increases costs. Overall, 42 percent thought smart grids would increase costs.
  • 38 percent of those familiar with smart grids thought the technology would decrease security in the system compared to an overall total of 31 percent.
  • 48 percent of those familiar with smart grids thought reliability would improve.

Add it up and it's clear that consumers are skeptical about smart grids, especially on the cost and security topics.

More:

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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