Pritchard to Host “Smart Grid” Town Hall Meeting

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The public is invited to see first-hand a demonstration of the electric “Smart Grid” technology, learn about ways to cut your electric bill, and discuss electric legislation that will be voted on in the veto session later this month.  The community town hall, hosted by State Representative Bob Pritchard, will be held Tuesday, October 11th at the DeKalb County Farm Bureau Center for Agriculture, 1350 W. Prairie Dr., Sycamore.  The demonstrations will be offered from 6 to 7 p.m. followed by questions and answers.  Speakers include Ross Hemphill, ComEd Vice President of Regulatory Strategies, and David Kolata, Executive Director, Citizens Utility Board.

Last spring after months of negotiations, the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (or “Smart Grid” bill) passed the General Assembly, but was subsequently vetoed by Governor Quinn.  Pritchard said that the legislation will be hotly debated during the upcoming fall veto session so he invites citizens to learn about the issue and share their views.

“The modernization of our electric infrastructure is too important not to work for compromise and a workable solution,” Pritchard said.  “It brings a cleaner, more reliable power supply; billions of dollars in infrastructure investment that creates jobs for Illinois; ‘net’ metering; and energy efficiency.  Many believe the system upgrade will also help with business attraction to Illinois and in retaining businesses.”

 

Hear about the concerns some people have raised with the legislation, what the smart grid technology is all about and information on ways consumers are already managing their energy use for lower costs per month.  Pritchard said the demonstrations are very informative and consumers will share information about their efforts to reduce electric consumption.

Pritchard said there will also be information about a new initiative that allows municipalities and counties to reduce electricity costs for residents and small businesses.  “Under the law which went into effect last year, the local units of government by referendum can purchase electricity at a discounted rate through energy brokers,” the legislator added.  Several municipalities are already planning to take the issue to voters next spring.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the tip, Kay. I took a look over at Rochelle’s web site under “History” and learned quite a bit. I did not know they produced a significant share of their own electrical power. They also mention cogeneration, so I presume they are capturing and using lost heat as well. Good for them! As long as they have their interconnect to the grid set right, they should retain a large share of their power needs during a grid emergency.

    I knew some municipalities in the Fox Valley distribute their own power, but was not aware of any municipal power producers until now. I think its a good thing, and will ask more about the legal aspects at tonight’s meeting.

    • I think it is a good idea for cities who would not muck it up. Rochelle has a long history of providing utilities. Sycamore under their previous city manager probably would have done a good job, Dixon could get it right, Oregon could get it right, Geneva could do a bang up job, DeKalb . . . not so much.

  2. I hope to get to this meeting. With recent changes allowing consumers (not just municipalities) to purchase electricity supply from vendors other than the distribution vendor (ComEd) it will be interesting to see how any funds for a “smart grid” can be captured. Perhaps they will explain who pays what. Reminds me a bit of the break-up of Ma Bell. And I pay a lot more now than then.

    As to the notion of a smart grid, I’m not at all sure its a good idea, but want to learn more. It seems to me the most secure power system would not be interconnected across large geographic areas, and not controllable remotely. I think I would prefer to go back to the days of each town having its own generation and distribution plant, with perhaps a potential connection (controllable by the municipality) to the regional grid.

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