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Smart Thermostats: The Next Wave in Consumer Empowerment

Summer is here and demand response programs across the country are in full swing. As the sun beats down upon us, pushing air-conditioning systems to the max and testing our community-wide energy efficiency efforts, a renewed focus is placed on consumer’s energy conservation. With providers constantly looking for low-barrier to entry engagement opportunities for consumers to reduce their peak demand usage, the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) has released a new White Paper- Smart Thermostats: The Next Wave in Consumer Empowerment. SGCC provides a deep dive into the smart thermostat conjoint statistical analysis that was conducted through our recently released The Empowered Consumer (TEC) report.

In May 2016 SGCC released TEC, a first-of-its-kind look at how consumers in the United States are faring post American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant funding. TEC explored consumers’ awareness and preferences for, and interest in, nine smart energy technologies and services. Additionally, two conjoint statistical analyses were conducted to provide an in-depth understanding of what consumers value within a smart thermostat program or time-varying rate plans. This choice-based conjoint methodology simulated real-world purchasing experiences, forcing respondents to make “trade-off” decisions when evaluating features and services.

SGCC determined that up to 68% of consumers are interested in participating in a smart thermostat program with specific program elements in place. These elements include a do-it-yourself (DIY) installation method, a thermostat with programmable and auto-adjusting features, no demand response enablement, and a $125 incentive paid in the form of a rebate. Within this context, SGCC has also determined that consumers value identifiable elements of control, as exhibited by their preference for the DIY installation method and thermostat capabilities. Lastly, our analysis revealed that even when demand response (which is often perceived by consumers as only benefiting the energy provider) is enabled, more than half of consumers indicate that they are still interested in participating in a smart thermostat program.

SGCC sees smart thermostats programs as a gateway-opportunity to engage consumers and offer them information about additional smart energy products and services. To learn more about SGCC’s smart thermostat conjoint statistical analysis, we invite you to download the free White Paper- Smart Thermostats: The Next Wave in Consumer Empowerment  or by visiting www.SmartGridCC.org.  

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