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WPA Nationwide Energy Security Study
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WPA Nationwide Energy Security Study

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Energy prices are the top concern of Americans among energy issues. …

Energy prices are the top concern of Americans among energy issues.

A plurality of Americans (43%) believe that energy prices are the most important energy issue facing the country today. And of those, 75% say that energy prices are are too high.
Roughly one quarter of Americans believe that expanding renewable energy sources (26%) and increasing the production of natural energy sources (23%) should be our primary focus.
While only eight percent of Americans view grid security as the most important energy issue in America, this issue has not gotten extensive media attention.

A plurality of Americans believes that our energy grid is not secure against a terrorist attack.
Forty-six percent (46%) of Americans say that they don’t believe that the nation’s energy grid is secure against a terrorist attack.
While 44% do say that the grid might be secure, only one-in-ten (11%) show confidence in that, saying they think it is very secure.
The public is still coming to a consensus on this issue, only 33% have strong opinions either way.

Americans overwhelmingly believe that securing our electric grid and infrastructure is a federal issue.
Nearly half (45%) of Americans say that securing our power grid is the role of the federal government.
Only one quarter (26%) say it is the utility companies’ job and fewer (23%) say it is a state government role.

While most American’s are less willing to pay more for better service, a strong minority (40%) indicate that they would be willing to pay more despite energy prices currently being the most important issue.

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  • 1. WPA Nationwide Energy Security Study n=606 Adults MoE=±4.0% Fielded April 1-14, 2014 © WPA. All rights reserved. Neither this publication nor any part of it may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of WPA.
  • 2. Page 2 Energy prices are the most important energy issue among Americans. Most Important Energy Issue 1. Question one, thinking specifically about energy issues, please indicate which of these energy issues is most important to you by pressing the number on your keypad. Press one for energy prices, press two for increasing production of natural resources, press three for expanding renewable energy sources, press four for improving power plant and electrical grid security. Energy Prices 43% Expanding renewable energy sources 26% Increasing production of natural energy resources 23% Improving power plant and electrical grid security 8%
  • 3. Page 3 Energy prices are the most important issue in the Midwest, Northeast and South. In the West, expanding renewable energy takes precedence. Most Important Energy Issue by Region 1. Most Important Energy Issue West (22%) Energy Prices – 28% Increasing Production – 25% Expanding renewable energy – 33% Improving security – 14% Midwest (22%) Energy Prices – 45% Increasing Production – 16% Expanding renewable energy – 32% Improving security – 7% Northeast (18%) Energy Prices – 41% Increasing Production – 21% Expanding renewable energy – 33% Improving security – 5% South (37%) Energy Prices – 51% Increasing Production – 27% Expanding renewable energy – 15% Improving security – 7%
  • 4. Page 4 High prices was the most common reason that energy prices was named the most important issue. A plurality of adults who believe that increasing natural energy sources is the most important energy issue cite an increase in energy independence as their reasoning. Those who listed expanding renewable energy sources did so because they want to protect the environment for future generations and the need to find new methods for producing clean energy. Reasons for Being the Most Important Issue Q2A. And why are energy prices the most important issue to you, specifically? Q2B. And why is increasing production of natural energy resources the most important issue to you, specifically? Q2C. And why is expanding renewable energy sources the most important issue to you specifically? Prices are too high 75% Prices are inconsistent 13% Not enough cheap alternatives 12% 2.A Energy Prices (n=259) Increase energy independence 33% We should be able to make our own energy 30% Lower the cost to Americans 26% Improve national security 6% Improve economy 5% 2.B Increasing Natural Energy Resources (n=140) Need to protect the environment for future generations 36% Need to find new methods to produce clean energy 33% Need to prevent further climate change 19% Need to prevent air and water pollution 12% 2.C Renewable Sources (n=157)
  • 5. Page 5 A slight plurality of adults believes that our power grid is unsecure from a terrorist attack. Opinions are divided, however, and only a portion of the public has made up its mind on the issue. Security of Power Grid from Terrorist Attack Q3. And now, thinking about the security of the power grid and our electrical infrastructure nationwide, how secure would you say these things are from a terrorist attack? Press one if you’d say they’re very secure, press two for somewhat secure, press three for somewhat unsecure or press four for very unsecure. Press five if you don’t know or would rather not say. 44% 46% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Total Secure Total Unsecure Very Secure 11% Somewhat Secure 33% DK/Refused 10% Somewhat Unsecure 25% Very Unsecure 22%
  • 6. Page 6 The South registers the highest levels of concern about grid security, though no region has strong confidence that the grid is secure. Security of Power Grid from Terrorist Attack by Region 3. Security of Power Grid West (22%) Total Secure – 48% Total Unsecure – 42% Midwest (22%) Total Secure – 45% Total Unsecure – 45% Northeast (18%) Total Secure – 50% Total Unsecure – 43% South (37%) Total Secure – 37% Total Unsecure – 51%
  • 7. Page 7 Americans overwhelmingly believe that securing our electric grid and infrastructure is a federal issue. Who Should Be Responsible for Grid Security Q4. And who do you believe should be principally responsible for security of the power grid and electrical infrastructure? Press one for the federal government or homeland security, press two for the state government, press three for the local police and press four for the utility companies themselves. Federal Government/Homeland Security 45% Utility Companies 26% State Government 23% Local Police 5%
  • 8. Page 8 While the South is more likely to believe utility companies should be responsible for grid security, more Americans in every region of the country believe grid security is a federal issue. Who Should Be Responsible for Grid Security by Region 4. Responsible for Grid Security West (22%) Fed Gov’t/DHS– 42% Utility Companies– 21% State Government – 31% Local Police – 6% Midwest (22%) Fed Gov’t/DHS– 44% Utility Companies– 28% State Government – 20% Local Police – 8% Northeast (18%) Fed Gov’t/DHS– 55% Utility Companies– 13% State Government – 29% Local Police – 3% South (37%) Fed Gov’t/DHS– 43% Utility Companies– 35% State Government – 17% Local Police – 5%
  • 9. Page 9 With energy prices being the most important energy issue, it is surprising that fully 40% of Americans would pay more to improve their infrastructure and prevent outages. Willingness to Pay Higher Rates to Improve Infrastructure and Prevent Outages Q5. Now thinking about your monthly utility bill. Would you be willing to pay higher rates on your monthly utility bills in order to improve local infrastructure to prevent more outages? Press one if you’d be willing to pay a lot more, press two if you’d be willing to pay somewhat more and press three if you would not be willing to pay more in order to improve local infrastructure. Press zero to repeat this question. A Lot More 10% Somewhat More 30% No 60%
  • 10. Page 10 Adults in the West are more willing than not to pay more to improve infrastructure and prevent outages, though at least a third in all regions across the country are willing to pay more if it improves service. Willingness to Pay Higher Rates to Improve Infrastructure and Prevent Outages 5. Willingness to Pay Higher Rates West (22%) A Lot More – 7% Somewhat More– 43% Not Willing – 49% Midwest (22%) A Lot More – 16% Somewhat More– 21% Not Willing – 63% Northeast (18%) A Lot More – 12% Somewhat More– 23% Not Willing – 65% South (37%) A Lot More – 6% Somewhat More– 31% Not Willing – 63%
  • 11. Page 11 Summary
  • 12. Page 12 Summary and Recommendations Energy prices are the top concern of Americans among energy issues. o A plurality of Americans (43%) believe that energy prices are the most important energy issue facing the country today. And of those, 75% say that energy prices are are too high. o Roughly one quarter of Americans believe that expanding renewable energy sources (26%) and increasing the production of natural energy sources (23%) should be our primary focus. o While only eight percent of Americans view grid security as the most important energy issue in America, this issue has not gotten extensive media attention. A plurality of Americans believes that our energy grid is not secure against a terrorist attack. o Forty-six percent (46%) of Americans say that they don’t believe that the nation’s energy grid is secure against a terrorist attack. o While 44% do say that the grid might be secure, only one-in-ten (11%) show confidence in that, saying they think it is very secure. o The public is still coming to a consensus on this issue, only 33% have strong opinions either way. Americans overwhelmingly believe that securing our electric grid and infrastructure is a federal issue. o Nearly half (45%) of Americans say that securing our power grid is the role of the federal government. o Only one quarter (26%) say it is the utility companies’ job and fewer (23%) say it is a state government role. While most American’s are less willing to pay more for better service, a strong minority
  • 13. Page 13 Research Design and Demographics
  • 14. Page 14 Research Design WPA Opinion Research conducted a study on the opinions of adults nationwide regarding energy issues. The poll was conducted among n=606 adults and the sample was selected utilizing Random Digit Dialing (RDD) methodology. Respondents were contacted by utilizing Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology. The final results of the survey were weighted to match census data. Respondents were contacted by phone via recorded telephone interview April 1-14, 2014. The study has a sample size of n=606 adults. The margin of error is equal to ±4.0% in 95 out of 100 cases.
  • 15. Demography Age Result 18-34 30% 35-44 17% 45-54 18% 55-64 17% 65-74 9% 75+ 8% Gender Male 49% Female 51% Education Result <High School 42% Some College 29% College Grad 18% Post Grad 10% Party Republican 31% Independent 24% Democrat 35% Ethnicity White 67% Hispanic 14% African- American 12% Asian 5% Other 1% Region Northeast 18% Midwest 22% South 37% West 22%
  • 16. Page 16 Contact
  • 17. For additional information about this data, please feel free to contact: Chris Wilson Partner and CEO 202.470.6300 CWilson@WPAResearch.com Matt Gammon Vice President 202.470.6300 MGammon@WPAResearch.co m Bryon Allen Partner and COO 202.470.6300 BAllen@WPAResearch.com