Consumers don't understand critical energy saving practices

As energy prices have continued to climb in recent years, one might assume that consumers have begun to better understand the ins and outs of the industry and why bills are so high.

As energy prices have continued to climb in recent years, one might assume that consumers have begun to better understand the ins and outs of the industry and why bills are so high. However, a survey released this week by IBM shows a substantial gap in what consumers need to know to improve their energy savings.

IBM's 2011 Global Utility Consumer Survey found more than 30 percent of consumers are ignorant of the term "dollar per kwh (kilowatt hour)," and more than 60 percent are unfamiliar with smart grids or smart meters.

The problem, says Michael Valocchi, a vice president at IBM Global Business Services, is that a number of strides have been made in recent years to help consumers and energy customers reduces their bills and environmental impact, yet confusion or plain ignorance have slowed the pace of adoption.

"This year's survey points to a need and an opportunity to go back to basics and educate consumers by using terms that they understand, behavioral triggers and channels they already use," said Valocchi. "People want to conserve energy; we just need to get better at showing them how."

The report points to the need for utilities to communicate effectively with their clients and help them achieve their savings demands.