Consumer complacency increased around energy usage

Worryingly 58% of consumers do not actively monitor and adjust energy usage
02 January 2019
  • 77% of consumers who monitor energy check energy bills every month
  • Installing smart metering technology proves a key enabler for consumers in reducing energy consumption
  • 84% of consumers plan to take some sort of action to reduce electricity consumption in the next 12 months
  • Over half of consumers are quite aware and very concerned about the impact of climate change
  • Strong consensus among consumers to support some form of positive government action to address climate change

Research published today by Pinergy, the smart energy provider, reveals how consumers were more complacent in the second half of 2018 as compared to the first half when it comes to monitoring their energy consumption and adjusting their usage to meet their household budgets. Results from the latest Pinergy Consumer Energy Monitor indicate that 58% of consumers are not monitoring and adjusting their energy consumption, an increase of 3% since the last survey was conducted earlier last year. These findings are published despite Irish electricity prices increasing in 2018 and at a time during the winter season with reduced daylight hours.

Of the 42% who are monitoring their energy consumption, almost four in every five consumers cited that they check their bills every month as the most popular method to control their energy consumption, despite the fact that many bills are estimated.This method is significantly higher than other potential means including the use of Home Smart Meters (14%), the use of smart energy plugs (10%) and smart energy apps (7%).With energy expenditure set to increase further over the coming months, Pinergy is calling on consumers not to become complacent and to take the opportunity to more effectively manage their energy costs in 2019.

Commenting on the Pinergy research, Enda Gunnell, CEO at Pinergy said: “Energy costs represent a significant annual expenditure for Irish households and these costs are set to rise even further unless consumers equip themselves with the latest tools to more easily support them in how they control and manage this vital utility.Most energy bills tell you what you have used in the past which doesn’t encourage you to make changes to your behaviour and are generally based on estimates.Many of our customers using Pinergy’s smart technology are actively engaged in their energy consumption. They can see what they are using every day and every hour and many are enjoying savings of over 20% through more efficient usage and waste reduction. We are seeing certain customers reducing even further through active engagement.”

The comprehensive research based on a nationally representative sample of over 1,000 households, was conducted by independent research specialist, RED C Research & Marketing.Taking a more detailed demographic breakdown of the results, provides significant evidence that energy consumption and monitoring by consumers is very much linked to life stage, with some groups such as families with kids (49%) and those widowed/divorced/separated (58%) increasingly likely to monitor and adjust their usage of energy.

The research indicates that just over eight in ten (84%) households have good intentions to change their behaviour and reduce energy costs within the next 12 months.This represents a slight drop of 2% on the research figures compiled earlier this year. Based on the research, almost three in four consumers (73%) indicated that they intend to install LED lighting, with only 15% planning to install a smart meter, 8% planning to install solar panels and only 6% intending to install heat pumps.Within the various life stage demographics, the group most likely to take action and invest in LED lighting are the twilighters/retirees (82%).

When it comes to attitudes around climate change, the Pinergy Consumer Energy Monitor indicates that over half of consumers are quite aware and very concerned about the impact of climate change.

Overall, the research highlights continued widespread consensus from Irish consumers in favour of more positive government action in order to address the challenges of climate change.In particular, the availability of grants to install energy efficient devices and incentives to increase the use of renewable sources of energy received the greatest backing of support from 92% of respondents to the survey.

Pinergy welcomes the Government’s stated €22 billion investment commitment in tackling emissions reduction but urgently calls on more actions to be taken and implemented if we are to achieve the 2020 and 2030 emission-reduction targets. According to Pinergy’s Enda Gunnell: “This includes delivery of plans around carbon tax, the completion of a financial support scheme for renewable energy and trials of buses fuelled by non-fossil fuel sources including electricity.”

The ‘Pinergy Smart System’ comprises the Pinergy In-Home Display unit, Smart Meter and the Pinergy Smart App. With Pinergy’s smart energy management system, consumers can easily monitor and track their energy usage, use flexible options to manage payments and get instant real-time visibility on energy costs. In addition, the system provides consumers with a tool to empower them to play their part every single day in building a sustainable energy future by being more energy-efficient.