Many residential consumers and SMBs are ready for alternative electric rates, but more education is needed
Although most Americans pay a flat rate for each kilowatt-hour of electricity on their monthly bill, the majority of residential and small-and-medium business (SMB) customers prefer an alternative, time-varying rate plan when given the choice, according to a new report from the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative (SECC).
Due to the deployment of smart meters, growth of distributed energy resources and other factors, electricity providers are increasingly looking to balance daily load with rate structures that encourage customers to distribute their energy usage throughout the day. SECC’s “Rate Design: What Do Consumers Want and Need?” report evaluates the common alternative rates available today – including time-of-use rates, real-time pricing and variable peak pricing – and the factors that make for success in terms of customer engagement.
Using survey responses from roughly 1,100 residential customers and 500 SMBs nationwide, the report found that residential consumers are mostly open to trying alternative rates even though many have not heard of them, suggesting a considerable education opportunity for electricity providers. The report also found that SMBs are very aware of alternative rates and that 73 percent prefer them over traditional flat rates.
The new report can be downloaded here, and a Research Brief Webinar on the main findings will be hosted on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 1 p.m. (ET).