Different Smart Grid Strokes...

Last week we checked out the psychology of early adopters, as summarized by Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative’s 2011 State of the Consumer Report. Once a disruptive technology has crossed the chasm and established a foothold, the question becomes: How do we engage the broader population – a population segmented by varying motivations and preferences?

The SGCC report lists a dizzying 22 consumer categories, identified through major studies by Accenture, GE and others.

Whichever way you categorize your own target population, remember:

The likelihood of acceptance increases if people can see their issues being validated through appropriate choices and incentives.

Here’s an example from the study:

About 42% of subjects feel it’s “un-American” to resist new ways of thinking about energy consumption. Those motivated to safeguard the planet believe it’s their patriotic duty to consider energy use alternatives. They consider constraints on using energy as a moral imperative. Their incentives and choices should address environmental aspirations and societal benefits.

But an almost equal number (37%) believe it’s “un-American” for an electric power utility to influence change. Motivated by privacy and independence, this group views constraints as unpatriotic. Here the appeal must be personal, offering cost savings combined with assurances of information privacy.

Prudent utilities and regulators will do well to study their local motivational mix and design appropriate programs, choices, and incentives.

Photo credit: Beverly & Pack