Business Green has an article on a Accenture study which "warns fears over privacy and rising energy bills could hamper rollout of smart grid technologies" - Report advises utilities to prepare smart grid charm offensive.
The Accenture report surveyed more than 9,000 energy customers in 17 countries and found that in the UK, less than 20 per cent of customers trust their electricity provider to advise them on how to optimise electricity consumption.
The report, entitled Understanding Consumer Preferences in Energy Efficiency, suggests there is considerable opposition to the rollout of smart meters and other smart grid technologies that promise to provide households with real-time data on their energy use and allow energy firms to reduce peak demand by automatically turning off non-essential appliances.
Of all the customers surveyed, only 16 per cent said they would switch to a smart grid-enabled energy management programme without a discount on their bills as an inducement.
Almost half of those unwilling to sign up were deterred by the risk of higher electricity bills, despite the fact that smart meters and electricity management programmes are designed to reduce usage during peak times and lead to lower bills.
Accenture also found a great deal of mistrust of energy companies' claims among those customers who were reluctant to sign up. More than four out of 10 respondents said they were deterred by the idea of their energy provider selling on, at a profit, the electricity they themselves had saved. Meanwhile, a third objected to the fact energy firms would be able to have greater access to their personal electricity consumption data.
The Accenture report warned that utilities will have to do a better job at educating customers about the possible benefits of smart grid technologies if they want people to sign up voluntarily to those smart grid-enabled tariffs that will allow them to reduce peak loads on the grid.