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Energy Efficiency is a Common Current for Consumers and Providers
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Energy Efficiency is a Common Current for Consumers and Providers

Energy consumption has been a factor for consumers since the dawn of modern civilization, but in a world of rapidly advancing technology and environmental awareness, it’s never been as topical as it is today. In fact, some scientists are concerned that people are consuming energy at an unsustainable rate unless society changes its habits—a message that’s getting louder every day.

That message isn’t falling on deaf ears, and many consumers appear willing to do more to reduce the impact that their own usage has, according to Nielsen’s 2013 Consumer Energy Sentiments Report. In most cases, however, cost remains a stronger motivator than environmental impact. Notably, seven in 10 (72%) respondents say they have control over the amount of energy they use in their homes, but more consumers say they would alter their energy behaviors to save money rather than to reduce their environmental impact.

Small, Simple Steps—For Now

So, are consumers currently taking any steps to reduce their energy usage? Yes, but mostly simple ones. In many cases, that means turning off a light or keeping an eye on the thermostat. But in looking at recent trends, it looks like consumers have a desire to do more.

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Most providers are making efforts to help customers use energy more wisely as well by offering new technologies and assorted programs to fit varied desires and behaviors. According to the recent report, however, surprisingly few consumers are taking advantage.

Time for Consumers to Get Smart (Meters)

Smart meters are a more recent offering from energy providers, but they have yet to catch on with many consumers. These devices, which effectively render meter readers obsolete, send providers real-time energy consumption stats and offer a heightened level of convenience via unspoken two-way communication between home and energy provider.

Smart meters are still a relatively new innovation, however, and many consumers aren’t even sure if their homes are equipped with them. According to Nielsen’s 2013 Energy Behavior Track survey, seven in 10 (73%) consumers either don’t have smart readers or aren’t sure if they’re installed in their homes. Furthermore, four out of five (81%) either haven’t seen information about the benefits of smart readers or haven’t been given information about them by their energy providers.

Smart meters are just one way providers are helping consumers prioritize their spending and identify their energy needs. Before consumers can capitalize, however, the 2013 Energy Behavior Track survey suggests that providers need tailored engagement plans that turn the heat up on highlighting the options and benefits for their customers.

For additional information, download the full 2013 Consumer Energy Sentiments Report here.