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Report Shows North American Energy Consumers Influenced by Environmental Concern

April 8, 2021
SECC report shows consumers are making the connection between smart energy and slowing climate change.

According to a recent report from Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative (SECC), residential consumers in the United States and Canada are increasingly making the connection between smart energy technologies — including electric vehicles (EVs), smart home devices, and energy-efficient products — and addressing climate change.

More than ever, the SECC's 2020 research revealed a strong influence of environmental concern on the interests, behaviors, and motivations of energy consumers. In the Beneficial Electrification: The Voice of the Consumer report, the statement "electricity is becoming cleaner and more renewable every day" resonated most strongly with consumers. In research on lower-income Americans, the Environmentally-Driven emerged as a distinct persona, with 44% of respondents stating that they always think about the environmental benefits of energy efficiency.

The 2021 State of the Consumer report highlights the major themes that emerged from the SECC’s 2020 consumer research, two white papers, and a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) report on advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). Last year's research included a groundbreaking report on consumer interest in beneficial electrification, video interviews with consumers during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and an in-depth look at lower-income consumers.

From these studies, the SECC developed six themes on what consumers want today:

  1. Consumers are making the connection between smart energy and slowing climate change.
  2. Consumers across all segments are interested in smart energy-enabled products.
  3. Lower-income consumers are keenly interested in smart energy and the environment.
  4. Consumers need more tools for assessing programs and technologies.
  5. Consumers look to their utilities for support as they deal with the impact of COVID-19.
  6. Education and engagement are essential to realizing the promise of beneficial electrification and AMI.

The new report is designed to help industry stakeholders — including utilities, consumer advocates, solution providers, and regulators — better understand today's consumers and develop programs, services, and technologies that meet their needs more effectively.

The 2021 State of the Consumer report can be downloaded by SECC members here.

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