14:01 | 22.09.2010
Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative Launches Pioneering Qualitative Research Initiative

The Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC), an independent non-profit
group working to foster mutual understanding between industry and
consumers regarding the creation of a next-generation energy
infrastructure, today announced the organization’s first qualitative
research initiative. This research is focused on understanding how the
electric industry and consumers can successfully communicate as smart
meters and other smart grid products such as in-home displays are

A January 2010 poll by The Harris Group shows that two thirds of
consumers are not aware of smart grid technologies that will allow
two-way communication between utilities and consumers. These
technologies will likely produce a sea change in utility-consumer
relationships and how consumers control energy use in their homes.

The Cadmus Group Inc., a leading environmental consulting firm, is
conducting the focus groups in California, Michigan, and Georgia to
gather a full spectrum of consumer concerns and benefits about the
consumer side of smart grid. Consumers will also advise on what they
want and need to know about these technologies and on how to work with
them during this significant transition. The research will guide the
development of future quantitative research. Initial results are
expected to be announced later this year.

Since its inception earlier this year, the SGCC has focused on
increasing industry’s understanding of consumers as well as increasing
consumer understanding of the smart grid. One way in which the
organization approaches this challenge is through research. Jointly
designed and financed by all key stakeholders in the smart grid
ecosystem, including utilities, vendors, and consumer groups, the SGCC’s
new qualitative research initiative will gather information that will
enable a collaborative and mutually supportive approach to the smart

The project is being led by the Cadmus Group in partnership with human
factor experts from the University of Colorado and the National
Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the only federal laboratory
dedicated to the research, development, commercialization, and
deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Focus
groups will help define relevant consumer segments and identify the
unique needs and concerns of each subgroup, creating baseline of insight
and vocabulary to help various constituencies work together on shared
goals. The findings of this qualitative study will also serve as a guide
for future quantitative research.

Said Andie Dipasquale, head of the SGCC Research Committee, “One of the
SGCC’s goals is to bring science and precision to understanding what
consumers need and want. That’s why we are so pleased to have some of
the country’s top research experts to help us do a good job of listening
and understanding.”

Said Jesse Berst, Acting Executive Director, SGCC, “SGCC’s role is to
accelerate the adoption of a consumer-safe, consumer-friendly smart grid
by listening, collaborating and educating. In the tradition of Steven
Covey, we ‘seek first to understand.’ The launch of this research
underlines our determination to listen carefully to consumers and to use
what we learn to guide our other activities.”
About the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC)
The SGCC is an independent non-profit organization (501c3) that was
organized to accelerate the industry’s understanding of consumer needs,
and the consumer’s understanding and acceptance of the smart grid. Most
importantly, it is collaboration between utilities and suppliers towards
a common goal in the updating the nation’s energy infrastructure. The
founding members of the SGCC include consumer electronics and technology
companies, retailers, consumer advocacy groups, and utilities dedicated
to maximizing the value of the grid for consumers. For more information
about the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative, visit


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