New Report Reveals Consumers' Top Values Related to Energy
Friday, January 11th, 2019
The Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative announced the publication of the "Consumer Values: Moving the Needle on Engagement" report, an exploration of "selectively engaged" energy consumers and the steps that electricity providers can take to better meet these consumers' needs and wants.
According to previous consumer research from SECC, roughly 40 percent of U.S. consumers engage only selectively in energy-efficient behaviors and programs, while 44 percent fall into the always engaged category and a minority of 15 percent are never engaged. The new "Consumer Values" report seeks to learn why these selectively engaged consumers participate periodically and what would motivate them to take a more active role in managing their energy use.
These selectively engaged consumers strongly prioritize saving money when it comes to energy programs and services, with 57 percent selecting "keeping my utility bills low" as the top benefit, followed distantly by "keeping my family/home safe and secure" at 15 percent. However, these consumers note a number of barriers to participating in energy-related actions, particularly around the financial requirements to participating.
For selectively engaged consumers, who typically have average or below-average annual household incomes (less than $75,000), the lack of easy-to-understand information on upfront costs and potential return-on-investment is the primary barrier to engagement. Other notable hurdles include the lack of agency as a renter to make home-improvement upgrades, the difficultly in taking advantage of programs or rebates and the inability to pay for upfront costs.
The report aims to assist electricity providers in better serving selectively engaged consumers by offering recommendations for overcoming each of these hurdles, depending on what steps the consumer has already taken to be more energy efficient. For example, for a consumer who has taken no recent actions, energy-efficient lighting or online billing enrollment would be a suitable first step on the energy-engagement journey, whereas consumers who have installed a smart thermostat or upgraded their HVAC may require more personalized approaches.