Consumer Understanding of Energy Terms Falls

Consumer Understanding of Energy Terms Falls

Power lines - http://www.flickr.com/photos/hikikomori/ / CC BY-SA 2.0

While most consumers view "energy efficiency," "smart energy" and "energy conservation" as positive concepts, few fully understand what those and other energy-related terms mean, according to a recent survey.

Marketing agency EcoAlign recently conducted its sixth EcoPinion survey, testing 1,000 consumers' awareness, understanding and acceptance of phrases like "energy efficiency," "demand response" and "clean energy."

For the most part, consumers viewed the terms positively. But when they were asked to match the terms to their definitions, less than one-third chose correctly. Also, fewer consumers chose correct definitions than those who were questioned in the first EcoPinion survey in October 2007.

In this year's survey, 80 percent chose the correct definition for "clean energy." But that's a drop from 86 percent getting it right in 2007. The same thing happened with the definition for "demand response." Sixty-nine percent got it right in 2009, but 73 percent got it right in 2007.

When it came to other terms like "peak pricing," "budget billing," "flat pricing," "time of use pricing" and "fuel supply pricing," consumers were either very knowledgeable about what the terms meant or were practically clueless about them.

The report suggests that, due to consumer misunderstanding of some terms, to stop using industry terms like "demand response" and "peak pricing" when communicating with consumers. Even though those concepts are important when it comes to the smart grid, consumers did not understand them and even made negative associations with them.

The report also finds that consumers could use some education when it comes to understanding the benefits of the smart grid. When asked to identify who or what they think will benefit the most from the smart grid, 31 percent of those surveyed said the environment would. And when asked to identify who would benefit the least, consumers said government, residential consumers and utilities would reap the fewest rewards from smart grid investments.

Power lines - http://www.flickr.com/photos/hikikomori/ / CC BY-SA 2.0

 

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