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Research: Parks Associates Explores Consumer Adoption Of Energy Management Solutions

While the pandemic has increased demand for power management solutions, many consumers are not aware of the options that are available

A new white paper from Parks Associates, Home Energy Management: Driving Consumer Engagement and New Revenue, reveals 20 percent of U.S. broadband households report the Covid-19 pandemic has increased their interest in smart energy solutions that can help them manage their energy use, cost, and comfort.

The white paper, developed in partnership with Cox Communications, finds that while consumer interest in energy management options is increasing, there are parallel demands for simplicity and relevance in the information from these solutions that would enable the consumer to take action to reduce energy spend and increase the energy efficiency of their home.

(image credit: Parks Associates)

“A variety of factors influence whether or not consumers adopt and use a specific solution, including ease of use, timeliness of information, and context,” says Patrice Samuels, senior analyst, Parks Associates. “Despite their lack of historical engagement with energy management solutions, consumers have energy-saving needs that can motivate them to participate, provided solution providers can design their offerings to meet these needs.”

“When it comes to information sources, consumer preferences vary, so it is critical to engage with them on their terms,” says Brett Lasher, executive director, new growth and development, Cox Communications. “New energy management solutions must be flexible enough to adapt to individual consumer preferences, while being simple enough for the consumer to engage with and meeting their most important need to reduce energy spend.”

Roughly one-third of US broadband households receive a daily breakdown of their energy consumption, but only 7 percent of these consumers review this information daily, underscoring the need for energy providers to expand their efforts to engage consumers.

Lack of awareness remains a challenge for utility energy management efforts. Only 50 percent of households report awareness of at least one energy management program offered by their energy provider. Beyond lack of awareness, several other factors serve as barriers to program participation, including the complexity of information and limited access to energy devices.

However, there are signs that, as the U.S. comes out of the pandemic, adoption of smart home devices will ramp up, with more than 40 percent of U.S. broadband households planning to buy at least one device in the next six months.

“Utilities can leverage the increasing presence of connected devices to achieve and expand energy management capabilities and functionality in the home,” says Samuels. “By incorporating smart thermostats, smart lighting, and smart plugs into energy management solutions, utilities can offer a comprehensive digital strategy to their customers that improves adoption of their energy management programs and generates additional revenue.”

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