City's Ambassadors to Spread The Smart Grid Word

Naperville hopes residents will provide the needed connection as it moves forward with project.

As the city of Naperville plans for the expected November rollout of Smart Meter installation in homes, it is looking to its residents to help educate the community about the project.

Last week one of the first meters was installed in the home of City Manager Doug Krieger as part of the Naperville Smart Grid Initiative (NSGI) pilot program.

To educate the average resident for the upcoming project, the city has enlisted a number of ambassadors to spread the word.

About 60 residents have submitted forms showing an interest in becoming an ambassador, said Nadja Lalvani, Naperville’s community relations manager. To become an ambassador a resident must submit an interest form, attend an orientation meeting and undergo a background check.

At a recent orientation meeting 17 potential ambassadors met with city officials to learn more about their role in the project.

Marsha Lenz, 46, of the Westwind neighborhood has attended two of the meetings. She said the Smart Grid is an interesting idea with many benefits.

Lenz, who works as an engineer at Bell Labs, said she thinks the ambassador program is a smart decision by the city. For her, being an ambassador is also a way to fill up some of her free time.

“I think it will be a good idea to have normal people spread the word about the smart grid,” Lenz said. “We’ll spread the common man perspective and we’ll bring a lot of issues back to the city.”

Lalvani said a diverse group of people are volunteering to be ambassadors but the city has noticed two distinct groups applying.

“One group are older professionals from technical industries, such as BP, IBM and the Illinois Institute of Technology, who live in Naperville,” Lalvani said. “The second group are younger residents from the general public who are interested not so much in the technical aspect of the project, but the general benefits it will provide utility customers.”

According to the city, the Naperville Smart Grid Initiative is an investment in its electric utility that will allow the city to modernize its electric grid using digital technology. Along with the installation of smart meters, the initiative also will modernize the city’s electric grid backbone.

The city has said that the upgrades will lead to numerous benefits for Naperville residents and businesses, including maintaining competitive electric rates, greater reliability and efficiency in service, new tools for managing and controlling energy usage, a smaller carbon footprint and potential cost savings.

Some residents have taken issue with the initiative, claiming that that radiation from the meters could cause health issues.

Richard Ryan, 59, of the West Highlands neighborhood also attended a recent ambassador meeting to learn more about participating.

His wife suggested he become an ambassador after she read about the program in the city’s newsletter. A recently retired IT manager, he said he wanted to join.

“It’s a good way to get out of the house and I’m interested in the information,” Ryan said. “I think I understand the concept of having us spread information.”

Lalvani said the city expect ambassadors to be leaders in the community concerning the spread of information about the smart grid.

“In many cases, they will be some of the first people customers turn to as they have questions about NSGI,” Lalvani said. “Truly, the city is gaining the most from the ambassador program by having informed, engaged utility customers be able to spread the word about this project and also help evaluate how effective the city’s communication is with utility customers.”

Micheal July 21, 2011 at 08:33 PM
FIGHT FOR YOUR LIVES!!! SMARTMETERS=CANCER Anyone that puts a smartmeter on any home is a MURDERER!!! SMARTMETERS DO NOT SAVE ENERGY- IN FACT THEY USE MORE ENERGY 24/7 AND BLAST YOUR BABIES, CHILDREN, LOVED ONES WITH MICROWAVE RADIATION! SMARTMETERS CAUSE FIRES AND EXPLOSIONS! DO NOT HELP EVIL UTILITY CORPS PROFIT!!! FIGHT AGAINST smartmeters, and volunteer at a children's cancer ward, save animals at an animals shelter, feed people at a homeless kitchen, BUT DO NOT SPEND ONE SECOND SUPPORTING DANGEROUS SMARTMETERS, or you will be KILLING INNOCENT CHILDREN, and will be charged in court as a murderer. PROTECT YOUR FAMILIES AND COMMUNITY!! BAN SMARTMETERS!! 1000's of international scientific/medical studies show serious danger of microwave Radiation from smartmeters. http://www.allianceheh.org/studies.html
Ann Berry July 22, 2011 at 01:00 AM
Smart meters are wireless surveillance devices. Any new appliances you buy will have chips that wirelessly communicate with the smart meter.The smart meter shoots off electromagnetic fields inside your home every 2 minutes around the clock.. Human cells use use electricity to function and live. We also use mineral and metals in enzymes necessary for life. We have rights. Forcing us to accept a device that will intruded into our homes and possibly affect our heath is an outrage. If we put up with this, we're sunk. March against them. Fight for your rights. I don't care if you aren't worried about the effects. The government, the commisioner, the utilities are trampling on you rights. Wake up!
Smart MeterIQ July 22, 2011 at 05:14 PM
Naperville Community Awareness Meeting on Smart Meters August 2, 2011 6-8 pm 95th Street library Come to find out more information on smart meters; the technology, the privacy debate, the security concerns and the health impacts.
NapervilleMom July 22, 2011 at 08:10 PM
NapervilleMom July 22, 2011 at 08:24 PM
The billion dollar telecommunications industry in partnership with multinationals like General Electric (the organization that lied about their energy star ratings for years) is relentlessly pushing this technology on the American people by writing big checks to our elected officials, rendering them passive and useless to defend their constituents. The entire program was initiated by a George H.W. Bush and subsequently promoted by Bill Clinton – a perfect Republican / Democrat partnership. The complicity of both parties in this Green Trojan Horse is a shining example of the dangerous cohesiveness inside the beltway (despite all the feckless drama we endure). Why would the city of Naperville allocate almost 2 million dollars in a public relations blitz to convince Naperville residents that wireless smart meters are a good idea? Not because they're so eager to go green or because our current infrastructure is so weak. Our city leaders have signed our privacy and health away in the form of contracts with service providers they’re afraid to back out on. They may pay big fines or get sued if the city doesn’t move forward with “smart” meters. They're going to roll the dice on our privacy and health because they want to protect their own thin skins. Their sheer cowardice will be at our grave expense.


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