updated 1/31/2011 8:16:46 AM ET 2011-01-31T13:16:46

NORCROSS, Ga., Jan. 31, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Utility executives expect budgets for energy efficiency resources to significantly increase in 2011 and are focused on solutions that support open standards and deliver automation and measurement capabilities, according to a survey by Comverge, Inc. (Nasdaq:COMV), a leading provider of Intelligent Energy Management solutions for Residential and Commercial and Industrial customers. The results highlight some of the most critical features within next generation energy management solutions and the increasing importance that is being placed on proven energy efficiency technologies that can help utilities, commercial and industrial (C+I) organizations and consumers optimize energy usage.

"It's not surprising to see budgets increasing for energy efficiency programs as they provide the industry's most proven approach to managing energy usage," said R. Blake Young, CEO and President, Comverge. "In fact, the increasing importance placed on energy efficiency is part of a broader shift in focus from supply to demand side technologies. While this survey shows there is still uncertainty around some aspects of the smart grid, I can say with confidence that 2011 will be another huge year for energy efficiency and related programs like demand response."

Of more than 100 utility executives surveyed during January 2011, 92 percent expect their organization to increase investments in energy efficiency resources by more than 10 percent in 2011. Of those, a further 22 percent expect budgets to increase by more than 20 percent. To try and determine the key capabilities of the energy efficiency technologies utilities will be investing in, the survey asked respondents to identify the critical features of next generation energy management solutions. Support for open standards (35 percent), the ability to measure and verify results (20 percent) and control and automation capabilities (19 percent) were by far the most popular, with features such as accessibility and portability (8 percent) and a single user interface (3 percent) lagging behind.   

The results also showed increasing skepticism around the timeline for the smart grid. In a similar study conducted by Comverge in March 2010 at DistribuTECH, 27 percent of respondents stated that measureable benefits from the smart grid are 1-3 years away, while in this year's survey, that number had fallen to only 1 percent. 

While there might be uncertainty about the timeline to the smart grid, respondents generally agreed on both the utility and consumer barriers to smart grid plans. When asked to identify the greatest potential barrier to their utility's smart grid plans, aging infrastructure (29%) and implementing variable and dynamic pricing programs (15 percent) were the most cited challenges, with the increased use of renewables (8 percent) and the coming age of plug-in vehicles (7 percent) low on the list of respondents' concerns. A similar question on consumer barriers found that consumer education and awareness was by far the largest barrier, with more than 50 percent of respondents selecting it ahead of barriers such as perceived price increases and security concerns.  

About Comverge

With more than 500 utility and 2,100 commercial customers, as well as five million residential deployments, Comverge brings unparalleled industry knowledge and experience to offer the most reliable, easy-to-use, and cost-effective intelligent energy management programs. We deliver the insight and control that enables energy providers and consumers to optimize their power usage through the industry's only proven, comprehensive set of technology, services and information management solutions. For more information, visit www.comverge.com .

CONTACT: Simon Jones
         PR for Comverge, Inc.

© Copyright 2012, GlobeNewswire, Inc. All Rights Reserved


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