A report released by Smart Grid Australia reveals that government and energy companies face a huge task ahead educating and persuading consumers/voters of the merits of smart meters and time-varying pricing.
This is bad news for the federal government whose energy white paper has pretty much hung much of its hope on time varying pricing as the recipe for containing peak demand and electricity costs, with little emphasis on alternative measures such as an energy efficiency credits scheme and other dedicated measures to encourage demand management.
The chart on the left below, taken from the Smart Grid Australia report, reveals that a third to almost a half of consumers haven’t even heard of smart meters, except for in Victoria which has had a mandatory roll-out over the past few years. Unfortunately while Victorians are certainly aware of smart meters, the chart on the right reveals that a large proportion of the population tends to have an unfavourable view about them. For the other states consumers tend to have a neutral view, probably because they haven’t really thought about them.
The poor experience in Victoria it appears has served as a loud and rude wake-up call to electricity businesses and government about energy consumer behaviour and attitudes.
Reading through this report from Smart Grid Australia, what you read between the lines is that energy companies know there’s a need for greater use of demand management, but they’re struggling to deal with an apathetic and grumpy consumer.