KNOXVILLE, TN – (Nov. 13) – A national survey finds Americans blame their utility. In addition, they blame their inefficient home for their rising energy bills. This is and not blame themselves for using more power. It’s a case of learned helplessness: People are giving up on conserving energy because they think there’s nothing they can do. (Fortunately, there are steps that utilities can take to change this.)
In addition, the survey, conducted by Knoxville-based Shelton Group. It found Americans are more likely to blame an inefficient home. That’s with 25% think their homes are inefficient. Then utilities (18%), and not their own demand for energy (12%). Even worse, many of those who’ve changed habits or made energy-efficient improvements say their utility bills have remained the same, or gone up.
So, the national poll, Shelton’s eighth annual Energy Pulse™ survey, found 80% of Americans think they’re using the same or less energy than in the past. Yet residential electricity consumption has actually increased, according to government statistics.
Shelton’s survey also found:
— Consumers have a high tolerance for bill increases. When asked how much their bill would have to increase to force them to make energy-efficient renovations, the average answer was $120. Based on the average reported winter heating bill ($162.80), this would be a 74% increase; or a 73% increase over the average reported summer cooling bill ($164.50).
— Americans have increasingly unrealistic expectations for returns on energy-efficient improvement investments. When asked how much they would have to save to prove spending $4,000 on energy-efficient improvements, expectations were beyond realistic —$139 per month. That works out to an annual savings of $1,668, or a reduction of about 85%, based on the average reported utility bill. There was a significant jump in the number of Americans expecting to knock more than $200 off their monthly energy bills – up 10% this year to 16%. This would need a homeowner to be nearly off the grid, generating his or her own energy.
— The propensity to make energy efficient product purchases is generally down from last year. Improvements with the highest propensities include a solar system (with 32% saying they are likely or very likely to install one, up 8% over last year), new water heater (15%, down 5%), and windows (15%, down 3%).
— When offered a solar energy lease option, requiring no money down, interest jumped to over 60%. This increased want for solar connects back to consumers’ desire for an 85% reduction in monthly bills. Installing solar is, most likely, the only way most could do such a reduction. This may be another clue to some Americans’ emerging desire to pull away from today’s centralized energy systems and set up personal energy independence.