Consumers with smart meters in their homes show significant enthusiasm for many of the benefits those meters can provide, including saving money and helping the environment. In a recent Green Research survey of such consumers, about half find the potential to save money with time-of-use pricing plans very or extremely valuable, for example. They even seem to find compelling the claim that smart meters could increase their privacy by eliminating the need for meter readers to come to their property: some 43 percent find that very or extremely valuable.
If there is one theme that underlies the appeal of smart meters to consumers, it is the empowerment that comes from better information. You can see this in the fact that, of a list of hypothetical benefits presented to consumers, the most popular, above even saving money or saving the environment, is that smart meters will result in electric bills that reflect actual usage, not estimates. Nearly two-thirds of smart meter consumers consider this highly valuable. That this benefit rates so highly with consumers and comes virtually “out of the box” with smart meter deployments, suggests that utilities should be sure to emphasize it to their customers.