Before signing on the dotted line, you want to understand what it is you're agreeing to. That seems to be how a number of co-op members feel when it comes to demand response programs.

"They need more information," said Scott Saff, manager of research services at TSE Services, which conducted the Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives 2017-2018 National Survey on the Cooperative Difference.

"About a quarter of people said they really need more information about these programs to make an educated decision as to whether they would participate or not. That's an important takeaway from our research," said Saff.

"There's a huge opportunity for our communicators to be involved in this area in order to help people adopt and encourage participation in these programs."

It shouldn't be a tough sell, because the survey found many people are open to the idea.

More than 80 percent of those surveyed said they were very or somewhat likely to participate in a "Beat the Peak" type of program and 69 percent expressed those same levels of interest for a water heater demand response program.

The number slipped to 49 percent when it came to interest in a demand response program involving thermostats, but there's a carrot co-ops can dangle. If the co-op provided a free smart thermostat, 57 percent expressed likelihood of participation.

And while money talks, it isn't the loudest voice when it comes to why co-op members would participate in demand response programs.

"A very large number, almost 40 percent, indicated they were interested in conserving energy and that was the main reason," said Saff. Another 13 percent expressed interest in saving the environment, while just 6 percent were specifically interested in saving money.

Learn more about the 2017-2018 National Survey on the Cooperative Difference, and register for upcoming webinars focusing on key findings in the report.

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