ATLANTA - Although many American consumers are not really familiar with the smart grid, those who do have knowledge about the technology’s capabilities are ready to upgrade - especially when their power goes out.

In the wake of recent Nor’easters that left hundreds of thousands without power for days, nearly four of every five Americans (78 percent) familiar with the term smart grid say that it would help reduce the number of power outages and restore power more quickly when outages do occur, according to a survey released by GE.

Utilities like Con Edison, Connecticut Light & Power Co., and New Jersey’s PSE&G were hit hard in March when powerful storms caused outages and darkened much of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.

“Real-time awareness of what’s happening across the entire electrical network is a top smart grid feature,” said Bob Gilligan, vice president-transmission and distribution, for Atlanta-based GE Energy Services. “The systems that make up the smart grid are designed to help utilities get power back up and running faster than ever before.”

The survey, commissioned by GE and conducted by StrategyOne in March 2010, found that although more than three-quarters (79 percent) of American consumers are still not familiar with the term “smart grid,” those that have heard of it are ready to upgrade the nation’s electrical network. The Obama administration is spending $4.5 billion on smart grid initiatives and projects in Colorado, Ohio, and Hawaii are already hitting important consumer milestones.

“It’s critical that stakeholders responsible for the development of a smarter electrical grid, policy makers, regulators, utilities, and organizations like GE, commit to an investment in consumer education efforts,” Gilligan said.

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Publication date:04/05/2010