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Grid Resiliency Survey
Millions of Americans Willing to Pay $10
More on Monthly Bill for Reliable Grid

ATLANTA - August 14, 2014 — GE’s Digital Energy business (NYSE: GE) today released the results of its Grid Resiliency Survey measuring the U.S. public’s current perception of the power grid, its experiences and future expectations. The survey was conducted following a very active 2014 winter storm season that led to several power outages, impacting millions of Americans.

According to the survey, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of GE in May and June among over 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18+ each, Americans living east of the Mississippi River are more willing to pay an additional $10 per month to ensure the grid is more reliable than those living west of the Mississippi (41% versus 34%). The survey also found that consumers living east of the Mississippi experienced nearly three times as many power outages on average as those living west of the Mississippi in the past 12 months (3.1 vs. 1.3). Of all adults in the United States who experienced an outage, more than half (56%) were without power for at least one hour during their most recent outage.

“The survey results are an indicator that consumers want to invest in technology to prevent power outages and reduce the time it takes their local utility to restore power,” said John McDonald, director of technical strategy and policy development, GE Digital Energy. “We live in an on-demand world that depends on electricity - one where productivity, food, entertainment and even chores can be achieved with the touch of a button. Our appetite for automatic is so great, in fact, that millions of Americans would be willing to pay more on their utility bill to maintain their electrified lifestyles.”

Consumer Expectations
Overall, consumers expect more value from their utility providers. Eighty-two percent of utility bill payers in the U.S. would like their utility to do more to encourage energy conservation and share ideas to improve energy efficiency in their homes. Meanwhile, 81% of utility bill payers expect their utility provider to use higher levels of renewable energy such as electricity produced from solar, wind and geothermal biogas in the future to meet their energy needs. These findings indicate that consumers want utilities to play a bigger role providing energy conservation tips and continue to value renewable energy as a source of clean power.
Consumers’ grid expectations are not limited to energy management alone. More than half of utility bill payers (52%) become frustrated when they’re without electricity for an hour or less. If a power outage occurs and consumers’ electronic devices are not charged, nearly half of U.S. adults would also be frustrated with the absence of their smartphones (39%), with laptops following closely behind (25%).

Digital Communications
As energy consumers’ expectations evolve, so does the way they communicate with utilities. In the event of a power outage, 70% of U.S. adults would prefer to communicate with their utilities digitally or online, whether calling them from cell phones and smartphones (60%), sending text messages (14%), contacting via utility websites (11%) or sending an email (9%). Conversely, 36% of U.S. adults still prefer to communicate with their utilities via a traditional land line.
“As our expectations for up-to-the-minute data increases, consumers will demand that utilities leverage digital communication and social media tools to keep them informed in real time,” added McDonald. “To meet this growing demand, domestic and global utilities have an opportunity to partner with consumers to better understand how their digital lifestyles are shaping their energy consumption habits.”

Consumer Concerns
In looking at the root cause of power outages, 50% of U.S. adults believe natural disasters and weather-related events are the greatest threat to the U.S. power grid. This threat is most evident for those in the Northeast, with 61% of U.S. adults in this region claiming weather as the greatest threat to the grid compared to 48% in the South and Midwest and 43% in the West.
“Natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and the recent polar vortices highlighted the challenges utilities face providing power to meet high energy demand. They also revealed the reliability challenges utilities experience when the U.S. electrical grid is under extreme stress,” said McDonald. “With the summer season underway – and the potential tornados, droughts and hurricanes that come with it – utilities should ask themselves if they are any more prepared to handle this stress.”

The Utility of the Future
Some power providers are already anticipating and planning for the grid of the future through grid modernization strategies – essentially an 'energy Internet’ delivering real-time information and knowledge to empower consumers.
“21st century consumers are more sophisticated and expect reliable power 24 hours a day to support their power-hungry lifestyles,” added McDonald. “Moreover, when there is a power outage, consumers expect their utility to communicate effectively and provide real-time updates on power restoration progress. Leveraging big data, minimizing recovery times and optimizing renewable energy will be key for utilities to meet consumers’ evolving needs.”
To learn more about actions utilities can take before, during and after an outage click here. An infographic that summarizes consumer trends and expectations can also be found here.

Abbreviated Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of GE from May 02-06, 2014 among 2,049 adults ages 18 and older and from June 3-5, 2014 among 2,028 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For more information, please contact:

Dan Nelson,
GE Digital Energy
[email protected]

About GE’s Digital Energy Business
GE’s Digital Energy business is a global leader in transmission and distribution solutions that manage and move power from the power plant to the consumer. Its products and services increase the reliability of electrical power networks and critical equipment for utility, industrial and large commercial customers. From protecting and optimizing assets such as generators, transmission lines and motors, to delivering analytic tools to help manage the power grid, and providing uninterruptible power, GE’s Digital Energy business delivers industry-leading technologies to solve the unique challenges of each customer. For more information, visit www.GEDigitalEnergy.com.
About GE
GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company's website at www.GE.com.
For More Information, Contact:
Dan Nelson
GE Digital Energy
[email protected]