The is hosting the first of many neighborhood open houses to provide information on its plans for the Naperville Smart Grid Initiative.
The first open house will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at . The event will be informal and will include stations where residents can get information and talk with the city’s .
Opponents of the project have recently submitted more than 4,000 signatures to the city in an effort to bring the project to voters in the March Primary Election and determine whether residents want the smart meter installation to move forward.
While opponents have yet to hear if the measure will make it onto the ballot, the city plans to begin installing new smart meters on homes in January, according to a news release. The city has a smart grid deployment map, which shows where the smart meters are to be installed with installation dates. Some of the work is scheduled to begin in central Naperville, in what appears to be the downtown area on Jan. 5, according to the map.
The city has 14 open houses planned and they will be held about three weeks prior to the work beginning in a neighborhood. The open houses will run through August of 2012.
The Naperville Smart Grid Initiative will upgrade the city’s $360 million electric network so it is more efficient, cost-effective and reliable customers and will “empower" customers with more information on their energy usage, according to the city’s news release.
According to the city, the digital smart meters measure energy use as it happens and meters do so securely and safely while transmitting information remotely to the city’s electric utility, which the city said gives customers a new level of awareness and control over their use. have argued that the system is not safe, fearing it might be hacked and that privacy rights are at issue.
Residents received information with their utility bill about what will take place during the smart meter installation and that information may be found on the city’s website. Customers should receive a letter six to eight weeks prior to installation, which will include contact information for a 24-hour customer care call center for questions and concerns, according to the city.