Low-Earnings Shoppers Help Investments in Clear Vitality

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Low-Income Consumers Support Investments in Clean Energy

Approximately 47% of lower income consumers named “the money I can save” as their main thought when considering energy saving options. Lower-income consumers also expressed significant concerns about the environment and supporting clean energy investments: 81% value these two priorities, according to a recent report by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative (SECC).

The report on Understanding Lower Income Consumers and the Future of Smart Energy was developed from a national online survey conducted among 1,000 US consumers in August and September. This study defined consumers with lower incomes than those earning less than $ 50,000 per year. Further analysis found that consumers earning less than $ 25,000 as low-income consumers and consumers earning more than $ 25,000 as middle-income consumers.

The report found that lower-income consumers’ scores are broadly in line with higher-income Americans. As expected, saving money is the main driver of energy decisions – a finding that is in line with previous SECC research.

However, this research revealed significant financial barriers for lower income consumers. According to ACEEE, households with low incomes are disproportionately heavily loaded with energy. However, according to the report, the majority of lower-income consumers are unaware of financial aid programs to help pay bills or install energy efficient upgrades.

The report found that 54% of low-income consumers are unfamiliar with bill payment assistance – and only 19% are aware of their electricity supplier’s bill assistance programs. Awareness of programs to improve energy efficiency is even lower (33%) – one of the best tools for consumers looking to reduce their electricity use and bills. However, once the awareness barrier is breached, 90% or more of lower-income consumers will turn to the support, suggesting that bridging this communication gap represents a great opportunity for stakeholders looking to help these low-resource consumers.

Click here to download the SECC Understanding Lower Income Consumers and the Smart Energy Future Report.

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