Poll: Americans financially motivated to participate in demand response

Electric energy providers are working hard to encourage participation in demand response programs designed to boost bottom lines and ease the burden on the nation's electric grid.

Only 14 percent of Americans are currently taking advantage of the programs, yet 87 percent would participate for the right incentives, including prepaid cash-back rewards, according to new research.

The parago energy survey examined Americans' awareness of and participation in demand response programs. (In these types of programs, consumers voluntarily curb their energy use or agree to distributed generation during peak usage times to relieve stress on the electric grid.) The research also examined which incentives would effectively motivate consumers to participate in demand response.

More than 2,800 consumers representative of standard US demographics responded to the survey.

"As grid modernization efforts progress, additional benefits of demand response have become clear to electric energy providers," said Jay Grinde, parago's Director of Business Development, Energy. "Our findings show that, in order to increase participation, providers would be wise to begin educating their communities differently about demand response, and roll out incentive-based strategies that reward consumers in new ways for participation in these programs."

Key findings from the demand response research include:

·      Lack of awareness is still problematic: 50 percent of respondents weren't sure if their utilities offered demand response programs. An additional 25 percent said their utilities did not offer these programs — another key indicator of low awareness.

·      Savings spark participation: 84 percent were financially motivated to participate in demand response programs. Only 6 percent were motivated by environmental concerns.

·      Customer connection falling short: 2 out of 3 customers who currently participate in demand response programs are not satisfied with — or are not sure about — the rewards available, and the communications they receive regarding the programs.

·      Incentives drive sign-ups: 87 percent would sign up for a monetary reward, like a prepaid card or free energy-saving equipment.

The parago energy study was conducted via online survey during the first quarter of 2014.

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