We’re energy dummies, IBM study says

A recent study by IBM claims that energy consumers around the globe do not have the basic information or the proper incentives to make better energy choices.

The company also identified a list of crucial behavioral patterns that have the potential to impact how providers communicate and drive motivation among consumers.

IBM surveyed more than 10,000 people from 15 countries and found a disturbing number of consumers don’t have a working understanding of basic utility pricing or other energy concepts.

For example, more than 30 percent of those polled had never heard of the term “dollar per kWh (kilowatt-hour)” or the equivalent currency. More than 60 percent of those surveyed were unaware of smart grids or smart meters.

The survey also showed that as consumers gained more knowledge and had a better grasp of energy-related concepts they were more willing to embrace and support local energy initiatives. 

Sixty-one percent of people with a strong knowledge of energy technology and pricing terms viewed smart meters and smart grid deployment plans positively, compared to only 43 percent of those with minimal knowledge.

“There have been major strides with new energy saving technologies, new programs and incentives, but in many cases the market is seeing more confusion amongst consumers than expected,” said Michael Valocchi, vice president, Global Energy & Utilities Industry Leader for IBM Global Business Services.

“This year’s survey points to a need and an opportunity to go back to basics and educate consumers by using terms that they understand, behavioral triggers and channels they already use. People want to conserve energy; we just need to get better at showing them how.”

Steve Duda, EarthTechling