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Who’s winning the thermostat war in Florida households? New FPL/Harris Interactive Study finds relationships turn up the heat on energy bills

Nearly half of married/partnered Floridians change the thermostat without their spouse or partner’s knowledge but prefer not to argue about it

Oct 15, 2013

Juno Beach, Fla. – Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) has unveiled new information that may just reveal why your home suddenly got hotter (or colder).

A September 2013 survey of more than 1,500 Florida adults, conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of FPL, revealed that among those who share their home with a spouse or partner, 49 percent – or nearly one out of every two people – admit to changing the thermostat setting without their partner’s knowledge. When confronted, the top reasons they used to excuse themselves include:

  •          Pretending they didn’t know how the thermostat changed (36 percent)
  •          Blaming someone else (12 percent)
  •          Saying the thermostat must have mechanical problems (12 percent)
  •          Claiming that the thermostat must have been bumped (9 percent)
  •          Blaming the dog or cat (3 percent)

“These survey results highlight the reality that most people in Florida would rather be comfortable, even if they don't want to admit it and may end up spending more money on energy in the process,” said Marlene Santos, vice president of Customer Service at FPL. When asked to choose, nearly half of Florida adults (47 percent) say being comfortable is most important to them, after saving money (44 percent). Only nine percent consider saving energy to be most important to them. “Ideally, we’d like to help customers find the best balance of comfort and savings,” Santos added.

FPL released the results of the statewide study as a way to mark October’s Energy Awareness Month and inform FPL customers about the different energy-saving programs that are available to them.

Since more than half (59 percent) of Florida adults prefer to keep the temperature on their thermostat low, it stands to reason that only one-third or nearly one out of every three Florida adults describe themselves as completely or very energy efficient (32 percent), with only four percent saying they are completely energy efficient. A large majority say that they are somewhat or not at all energy efficient (68 percent).

“FPL is committed to helping customers understand what can drive their bills up or down, and offers energy-saving tools to help them make more informed energy choices,” said Santos. “The apparent ‘thermostat wars’ in people’s homes are a hidden force to be reckoned with,” she said, “since air conditioning is the largest user of energy in Florida homes.”

To help customers call a truce, Santos recommends they start by taking the Online Home Energy Survey. With it, they receive a personalized energy savings plan with expert tips and recommendations that can help them change the current way they use energy and save up to $250 a year in energy costs.

 During Energy Awareness Month, customers who complete the Online Home Energy Survey are automatically entered for a chance to win a Home Energy Makeover worth $5,000.

FPL’s Energy Dashboard is another online tool that helps customers become more aware of their own energy use patterns. It allows customers to see how much energy they’re using by the month, day or hour. “Information is power. FPL’s Energy Dashboard can help you see where the spikes in energy use are,” said Santos. “But we can’t tell you how the thermostat got lowered. That’s between you and your partner.”

OTHER SURVEY FINDINGS INCLUDE:

·     Among Florida adults who live with at least one other person in their home (n=1,238) 43 percent strongly/somewhat agree that there is a thermostat war in their house, with 15 percent strongly agreeing with this statement.

o      Females might be the ultimate culprits – 45 percent of women in Florida would rather have control of the thermostat than the television remote (36 percent)

o      59 percent of Florida adults keep the temperature on their thermostat “low.” Reasons for doing this include: so they can put on heavy blankets (18 percent), so they can snuggle close with their loved one (16 percent), to avoid arguments with their spouse (15 percent), to keep their pets comfortable (13 percent), and “other” (20 percent)

·     Only 34 percent of Floridians with air conditioning change the air filter once a month or more, the recommended frequency for the air conditioning unit’s maximum efficiency.

o    45 percent change it every 2-6 months

o    7 percent change it every 7-12 months

o    1 percent change it less than once a year

o    2 percent never change the filter in their air conditioner

SURVEY METHODOLOGY
This Florida Energy Use survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of rbb Public Relations between September 12-20, 2013 among 1,586 residents of Florida aged 18 or older, 930 of whom are married or live with a partner. Oversamples were also obtained of the following counties: Brevard, Broward, Collier, Lee, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Sarasota, and Volusia. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please visit http://newsroom.fpl.com/energysurvey.

Florida Power & Light Company
Florida Power & Light Company is the largest rate-regulated electric utility in Florida and serves the third-largest number of customers of any electric utility in the United States. FPL serves approximately 4.6 million customer accounts and is a leading Florida employer with approximately 10,000 employees as of year-end 2012. During the five-year period ended December 31, 2012, the company delivered the best service reliability among Florida investor-owned utilities. As of year-end 2012, its typical residential customer bills are the lowest in Florida, and based on data available in July 2012, are about 26 percent below the national average. A clean energy leader, FPL has one of the lowest emissions profiles and one of the leading energy efficiency programs among utilities nationwide. FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE). For more information, visit www.FPL.com.

Harris Interactive 
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients—stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

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Suvey methodology
Cmplete survey methodology, including weighting variables (200 KB)

 


 
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