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Survey: Forty-One Percent of Americans Are More Concerned with Power Outages



Latest survey in the Smart Energy Snapshot Series reveals how electricity providers can better communicate during power outages and extreme weather

Despite significant investments in modernizing the electric grid, 41 percent of consumers are more concerned with power outages today compared to 10 years ago, and only 10 percent are less concerned, according to a new survey from the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative (SECC), a nonprofit organization that studies Americans’ energy-related behaviors, interests and values.

The “Extreme Weather and Power Outages: Communicating with Customers” survey is the third installment in SECC’s new series of short-form surveys, the Smart Energy Snapshot Series, which debuted in June. The latest survey explores how electricity providers can help their residential customers better prepare for extreme weather and how they can better communicate with them when power outages do occur.

While just under half of today’s consumers say that they are more concerned with outages, nearly all (91 percent) would like their electricity providers to provide tips and suggestions to help them prepare for extreme weather events and power outages. Survey respondents stated that email (51 percent), website (39 percent), text message (38 percent) and on-bill information (34 percent) were the top channels where they would like to see these tips.

When it comes to communicating with customers about outages in their area, text messaging has become the preferred channel for the majority of consumers (55 percent). However, there are still sizable numbers of customers that prefer other channels, including 16 percent for email, 15 percent for a phone call and 11 percent for an emergency alert push notification. Only two percent of respondents preferred some other means of communication.

“This new survey shows that many Americans are concerned with power outages due to increasing extreme weather events,” said SECC’s President & CEO Nathan Shannon. “And they are looking to their electricity providers as trusted sources of information to help them better prepare for and deal with these challenging circumstances.”

An infographic highlighting the key figures from the “Extreme Weather and Power Outages: Communicating with Customers” survey can be viewed here, and a slide deck with the full survey findings is available exclusively for SECC’s membership here. In addition, we will be hosting a webinar tomorrow at 1 p.m. (ET) on the key findings of this Snapshot Survey featuring guest speakers from Opinion Dynamics and Lake Country Power.