Zpryme’s New Energy Consumer Report Launched at Connectivity Week

It’s Day 3 here at Connectivity Week, and I’ll be busy running the sessions related to the role of wireless in the smart grid. This isn’t the kind of conference with a lot of news releases or product launches, but there was a launch that I think will be of interest to anyone in smart grid – either on the supply side or as a consumer.

Some of you know that I recently partnered with Zpryme to jointly produce smart grid research, and we launched our first report in March focused on the U.S. renewable energy market. We’d be happy to field your inquiries about this, but let’s come back to the news here.

Zpryme does first rate research, and yesterday their latest study was launched here at Connectivity Week. Not only is it an insightful barometer of what today’s “new energy consumer” looks like, but you can download the report at no cost. The research was underwritten by Itron, but the research is totally market-focused – no vendor pitches here.

To pique your interest, I just wanted to share a few highlights that caught my eye. There is so much to learn about what consumers really think about energy and everything around that, and I’m pretty sure you’ll have a few I-had-no-idea takeways here.

- The report provides a tangible connection between two variables that I think are highly related – the price of gas and electricity. With gas prices jumping so much lately, the research shows that 76.5% of the consumers are now more sensitive to energy prices. They also looked at a sub-set of the sample, which they call High Tech Users (HTUs), and among them, this sensitivity is notably higher – 92.2%.

- That said, there are several data points that show a true lack of knowledge and engagement around energy and smart grid issues:

-- 39.3% are not aware of what smart grid is
-- 48.2% are not interested in an EV- electric vehicle
-- 45.2% don’t know what type of electricity meter they have
-- 21% spend less than a minute reviewing their utility bills, and 48% spend less than 3 minutes - wow!

Clearly, utilities have a huge job ahead of them, and this report is a great resource to better understand what needs to be done.

- On the network and infrastructure side of things, the research also quantifies some promising growth prospects:

-- The U.S. smart grid communications network equipment market was $735M in 2010, and will grow to $1.6B by 2015 – that’s a healthy 17% CAGR

-- The mix of spending is roughly 65% for wired equipment, and 35% for wireless

-- Supporting the wireless opportunity, the research shows that 53.1% indicated that they would be comfortable with their utility working with a cellular provider such as AT&T, Sprint or Verizon.

There's plenty more to explore, and I encourage you to get the report and see for yourself. We all know the opportunity here is huge, but it won't happen unless you understand what's on the consumer's mind.