SGCC survey provides insight to customer engagement behaviours 2 June 2017

The Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) has released an update to its flagship “Consumer Pulse” survey.

The SGCC survey revealed insights on what smart grid benefits are the most important to consumers; how willing consumers are to pay for benefits associated with the smart grid; what utility programs are garnering the most consumer interest; and what Millennials think about home energy usage and the smart grid.

In an emailed statement, the SGCC said that “the sixth wave of the survey reached 1,652 consumer through online consumer panels, sampled from each of the nine US census divisions. For the first time, the ‘Consumer Pulse’ survey showed that a majority of US consumers have heard of smart meters and the smart grid, at 72 and 70% of consumers, respectively.

“Wave 6” of the survey is an investigation of consumer engagement — continuing to build on the understanding of consumer awareness, interests and attitudes around energy efficiency and learning how to leverage and adapt services and offerings given these realities, says the SGCC in its report.

SGCC customer engagement groups

The SGCC segmented those surveyed into three groups, namely, customers that are Always Engaged, Rarely Engaged and Selectively Engaged, following the identification of distinct patterns that emerged providing insight into how readily consumers engage with their electricity providers.

The SGCC describes the Always Engaged (44%) as consumers that are Green Champions. They are technologically advanced and are best characterized by the phrase “smart energy technologies fit our environmentally-aware, high-tech lifestyle”. They show the most interest in and place the most value on energy efficiency. They are also likely to be college educated, have higher incomes and live in urban/suburban locations. These consumers are also more likely to be millennials than other segments.

The Rarely Engaged (16%) consumers are those characterized by the phrase “we’re okay, you can leave us alone”. They are rarely interested in energy efficiency. They are the least knowledgeable about energy technologies, and they participate in fewer energy management programs. The “Rarely Engaged” consumers are also more likely to be retired, live in a rural setting and have lower incomes than consumers in other segments. Baby Boomers are disproportionately represented in this segment.

Finally, between the two extremes lie the 40% of consumers who are Selectively Engaged with an interest in energy efficiency. They are likely to be out of the workforce — either retired or unemployed. Their incomes range from middle to low, and their interest and awareness about smart grid technologies vary greatly. They can be characterized by phrases such as “we want to use energy wisely, but we don’t see how technologies can help” or “how can smart energy programs help us save money?” or “impress us with smart energy technology and maybe we will start to like the utility more”. Engagement on their own terms is common, and they engage only when they have a specific need.

The report also offers additional information on consumer segmentation and insight into the demographic profiles of customers surveyed. To view the full report, click on the following link:

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