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By Staff on Jun 26, 2010 with 5 responses

Survey: Majority in US Ready to Change Energy Habits

Nearly eight in 10 US consumers — 79 per cent — say in a new survey that they’re ready to make short-term changes in their energy use habits to gain longer-term benefits.

Commissioned by GE, the national survey found that 72 per cent believe that, left unchanged, today’s energy sources and consumption habits could hurt the country’s economic growth. And 63 per cent said they’re willing to work with their power companies to help bring about changes in consumption patterns.

The vast majority of those polled — 88 per cent — said they are willing to use devices like smart meters if they could help better manage their energy use. Of this group, 82 per cent say they believe smart meters and smart appliances are vital technologies for the future.

Smart-grid technology is designed to make it easier for power companies to manage energy demand, incorporate more renewable sources and reduce power outages. It’s also aimed at helping consumers better understand and manage their energy consumption patterns and take advantage of off-peak times when energy costs might be lower.

According to GE, the survey findings indicate that people in the US are ready to see changes in the nation’s energy landscape.

“There are some things that are essential to achieving a desired quality of life, and Americans overwhelmingly agree that investing in our nation’s energy future is one of them,” said Bob Gilligan, vice president of digital energy for GE Energy Services. “The American electrical grid system has undergone little investment in the past 25 years. Even worse, most generation stations were built in the 1960s or earlier using even older technology. As a nation, Americans recognize that a cleaner, smarter and more efficient energy infrastructure will help create a competitive economic future. The key is to invest correctly — the right way rather than the easy way.”

Of those questioned in the GE survey, 70 per cent said they would rather see their power companies spend money to make existing infrastructure more efficient than invest in new power-generating plants. They also believe such improvements offer the potential for economic growth.

Respondents expressed support for smarter appliances, meters and grids for the following reasons:

  • Desire to save money (95 per cent)
  • Increased control over energy bills (90 per cent)
  • Desire to make a difference for children or grandchildren (88 per cent)
  • Help to reduce the number of power outages (86 per cent)
  • Environmental concerns (85 per cent)

“Consumers are ready to think differently about how they use energy,” Gilligan said. “For those consumers that do not currently embrace smart grid technologies, more than a quarter of them (27 per cent) admit that they don’t understand the benefits of smart meters or smart grids. Therefore, it is important that continued consumer-friendly education is provided to address this gap in understanding.”

Reproduced with permission from Greenbang.

  1. By TheReviewer on June 27, 2010 at 3:10 am

    If only Congress’ votes hadn’t been bought by oil dollars. Oh well.

  2. By Majed on June 27, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    This is great. Now we just have to make something good happen and these people have to prove they want to change their energy habits.

  3. By Craig Shields on June 27, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    The comment by ‘TheReviewer’ brings up a very crucial point. Decisions in this country are not now commonly made based on the collective will of We the People, however willing we are to move in the correct direction as this poll so starkly shows.

    Our congressmembers – 535 in number – are surrounded at every turn by three military divisions worth of lobbyists – 13,000 strong – spending 3.47 billion in 2009 alone, mostly for big business interests (only a very small percentage of dollars come from the labor lobby – in fact labor’s contribution was equal to only 10% of the “energy and natural resources” lobby in 2009, and only 1.2% of that year’s total flow of lobby cash).

    With the recent SCOTUS decision in “Citizens United” v. Federal Election Commission, our leadership may now be bought outright nationwide by the “campaign contributions” – or even by the threat of such contributions to political opponents. Not so many years ago, a study added up all the money spent on all the elections for every office high and low in the country in a national election year and divided that sum by the population. The result? it would have cost the citizenry $3.00 each to buy all the elections that year. That amounts to about a billion dollars. ExxonMobil’s profit was $19 billion last year – so, with its newly granted human rights, this paper creature can now purchase every election in the country with little more than 5% of its profits.

    I think it’s time our real citizens actually did unite to put an end to this bribery that one side of the aisle considers a necessary evil and the other side calls “free speech”. Otherwise, we citizens will find ourselves trying to be heard whispering in a room full of big business bullhorns. As long as we allow our leadership to be selected based on contests of cash rather than on contests of ideas, we’ll be led by a lurching mix of the most shrinking cowardice and the most rapacious greed imaginable.

    For anyone who’s interest in more information and discussion on campaign finance, here are three places to look:

    I’m encouraged, nonetheless, by the poll results, and by CRE’s publication of them in the context of our pressing need to break our addiction to fossil energy and to grow our economy at the same time. S little more discussion on a green economy can be found here:

    It’s organizations and websites like that will help make the difference if we’re able to turn our infrastructure and economy around, and I’m thankful for their efforts.

    Craig Shields, Editor,

  4. By Tom Harrison on June 29, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    Is there a link to the actual survey data? This seems like a great and important bit of news we can use on People need to know that others are feeling the same way they are — it’s pretty clear there are a LOT of forces who would have us believe that most people are not thinking as this survey suggests.

  5. By M. Reese, Brightstar Solar on July 3, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    That’s a signifies a major shift in attitudes. I would love to see the data behind the survey as well. As a solar installer, I always tell my clients that efficiency comes first before they evaluate a photovoltaic system.

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