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IBM Reveals Global Utility Consumer Survey Results

IBM unveiled findings from its “2011 IBM Global Utility Consumer Survey” today, revealing that many consumers do not understand the basic unit of electricity pricing and other energy concepts used by energy providers.

IBM surveyed more than 10,000 people across 15 countries to explore the wants and needs of energy consumers worldwide, revealing a major gap between what consumers currently know and what they need to know to reduce energy consumption and benefit from smarter energy initiatives. The survey also revealed that knowledge is linked closely to people’s willingness to embrace change and their approval of local energy initiatives-61 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.”

The survey is a continuation of IBM’s consumer research by the Institute of Business Value, following the 2007 “Plugging in the consumer: Utility business models for the future” and the 2009 “Lighting the way: Understanding the smart energy consumer” surveys. All three reports have focused on the consumer’s evolving relationship with energy providers in an effort to better understanding the psychology of decision making and adopt new methods of communication and design programs that are in line with consumer demands.

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