What We Want: A Gen-Z and Millenial Plea to Utility Companies
- Apr 6, 2020 10:46 pm GMT
It may sound cliche to some but as someone who falls into the Gen-Z category, I have very high-stake concerns about how our environment should be tended to. It seems that nowadays there is a growing number of people who are environmentally concerned. This group is engaged in the active battle of doing what they can to try and save the planet. I am one of these people, a young professional who is cost-conscious but willing to spend more if it means lessening my environmental impact. While this is not a new take, it is highly underestimated.
2018 in the U.S marked a total electricity generation by the electric power industry of 4.17 trillion kilowatt-hours (kWh) from all energy sources. This resulted in the startling emission of 1.87 billion metric tons, 2.06 billion short tons, of carbon dioxide (CO2). That is a whopping 0.99 pounds of CO2 emissions per kWh.
My generation regards this as such a big-ticket issue because it impacts our future. We have taken it into our hands to push an ecologically friendly lifestyle that is low waste and lowers our emissions. We are moving beyond the point where things like fast fashion and single-use products are king. We are willing to spend more money on things that are made from better materials that will inevitably last longer and not end up in a landfill.
Statistics are showing that globally 66% of Millenial and Gen-Z consumers are willing to spend more for products that are eco-friendly and sustainable. This doesn’t just extend to products either. Millennials and Gen-Z are wanting the companies they support to have a positive impact on the environment. This includes our energy production.
Millennials and Gen-Z have been a driving force in getting companies to consider going green. With so many resources available and ones that are in production, it is important to invest in these new methods so they continue to work on them. It is an ongoing effort and by pushing for more sustainable energy, the more funding these programs are going to get. This means our emissions will steadily begin to lower as the availability of these programs rises.
But What Programs Are Those?
There is a wealth of new technology that is emerging to help in the fight against excessive emissions. But without the aid of companies willing to endorse and invest in these programs, the cost will remain high and progress will stagnate. So what do we, the ones fighting for greener programs, want you, power and utility companies, to invest in?
Smart Meters: Smart meters are a required enabling technology, measuring electricity in 15-minute increments vs. once per month, allowing utilities and consumers to more closely monitor energy usage.
It was estimated that there would be about 98 million smart meters deployed by the end of 2019, and now 107 million by the end of 2020
Smart Thermostats: There has been a big boom in this tech that allows for the utility to operate my thermostat within the parameters of my choosing, and pay attention to operating within the lowest cost times.
Electricity Disaggregation: By giving utilities insight into how I use my electricity by way of my appliances, will give them the ability to offer advice and solutions to reduce my carbon footprint.
An Enterprise Rating Engine with Bill Simulation: This will help utility companies offer me deals by taking my usage for the year into account and testing that data with incentives to show me how much I could save and reduce my environmental input. How much can I save with a smart thermostat? How would my bill change by enrolling in a community solar program? I want forward price transparency for each option so I can make the best choice for the planet and for my wallet.
Why is this so important to me and my utility company?
It will also benefit me to combine these technologies in a way that is synergistic with my utility company. Having open communication with utilities who can help optimize my energy usage as well as save me money will make me more likely to invest in those companies to run my home. If they know my usage and my personal preferences, the utility can schedule everything from when my A/C runs, when my electric water heater heats up my water, or schedule my dryer to run at night to reduce greenhouse gases and lower my bill.
But what I want to know is when will this be available to me? The technology is there but will utilities catch up to the need now? Being energy efficient is important right now so we can start the downward trend of emissions and the upward trend of sustainability. If we start right now we can cut energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050.
Why wait until then? We have the technology available right now to start making changes and we shouldn’t wait until 2050 to start making them. As a consumer, I urge my utility companies to look into these options and make conscious efforts to invest in them and make them more available to their customers. It is imperative we start healing our planet now and by following the trend you will be more respected by a large portion of your market, which will benefit your business and make an impact on our world.
It starts with you, and I’m asking you to consider what you can do.