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Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative: Spotlight on Low-Income Consumers
October 24, 2012
Green products are often positioned as luxury items, the choice of affluent consumers who view environmentalism as an expression of personal style. The environmental attitudes of lower-income consumers are not commonly discussed in green-marketing circles. That’s why this new study by the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative, an industry group whose members include electric-utility companies and vendors of technology used to create “smart” power grids, is interesting. It focuses on low-income consumers, a group in which households of one or two people have total household income of no more than $20,000-30,000 for households with three or four people. The study found that energy efficiency is as important to low-income consumers as to the general population. It also found that low-income consumers’ environmental attitudes align fairly closely with those of the general population. Most low-income consumers (72%) believe that global warming is real, and that saving energy helps the environment (82%). Eighty percent report that they try to minimize their impact on the environment through daily actions. A quarter of the low-income consumers surveyed for the study felt that the potential benefits of smart power grids — including preventing power outages, obtaining near real-time information on their energy use, and making it easier to connect renewable energy sources to the grid — were important enough that they would be willing to pay more for them.