Thanks to low natural gas prices and mild temperatures over the last couple of years, many of us think our homes are “just fine.” In fact, home energy expenditures as a percentage of household income fell to 2.7% in 2012 ‒ the lowest percentage seen in 10 years.1
Our new 2013 Energy Pulse study shows that almost half (48%) of homeowners think that their homes are efficient. This answer, which has remained relatively unchanged since 2010, obviously reflects substantial overconfidence.
We’re also seeing a decline in energy conservation behaviors. So even though most aren’t doing the right things, their bills have been a little lighter, and they’re feeling a false sense of complacency.
But the party is about to end. The Energy Information Administration is projecting rising fuel costs, which means higher utility bills this winter.
It’s going to get ugly ‒ particularly if we have a cold winter. The good news is that this is likely going to spark action like we haven’t seen in a couple of years. Smart utilities, manufacturers and retailers will get ahead of the storm by communicating (now) about impending rate increases and winter weather.
Be proactive and aggressively offer specials to help customers prepare for the worst. Arm them with tools or plans to minimize the pain, and with information, discounts and loans to remove barriers to action.