Learning about impact of the Smart Meters on electricity use

In recent months 131,000 households and businesses in nine near west suburbs and in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood have received new Smart Meters in preparation for a pilot program to examine the impact of new technology on electricity use.

This week, ComEd kicked off a public education campaign about the program with its first informational meeting for Oak Park residents at the village’s public library.

Smart Meters are expected to help consumers monitor and reduce electricity use and their carbon footprint while helping utilities adjust distribution and eventually reduce the number and duration of power outages. The new meters are the first step toward the creation of a “smart grid,” which uses a digital system rather than a mechanical one to communicate power needs and problems along the lines.

The pilot program will run from June 1 to May 31, 2011. In early June residents will be able to log on to a new Web site to see how much power they used the previous day and how much it cost them. The site will also include ways for residents and businesses to reduce their usage, said Larry Kotewa, a senior engineer with CNT Energy, a division of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, which is working with ComEd on the project.

Smart Meters were installed well in advance of the pilot program to make sure the system is up and working, Kotewa said. The meters will send digital signals to ComEd every 30 minutes rather than having someone physically read the meter once a month. In addition, any power outage in a home will be reported back to the utility immediately.

For now, the 8,000 households with monitors will remain capped for the pilot program, said Alicia Zatkowski, senior manager of communications for ComEd.

Similar information sessions about ComEd’s pilot program will be held in the other participating towns: Bellwood, Forest Park, Melrose Park, Maywood, Broadview, Berwyn, River Forest and Hillside. The next informational meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Berwyn Public Library, 2701 S. Harlem Ave.

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Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle Demonstration Program

Toyota Motor Sales announced today that more than 100 Toyota Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicles will be placed in a nationwide demonstration program over the next three years in universities, private companies and government agencies in California and New York.

A little piece of history

In December 2002, Toyota began limited testing of fuel cell vehicles in the U.S. and Japan.  A total of 20 first generation fuel cell hybrid vehicles (FCHV) are in service in California with universities, corporations and government agencies.  Toyota enlisted the University of California, Irvine, University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, Davis to test different aspects of consumer acceptance and market dynamics of fuel cell vehicles.  FCHV also are placed with the California Fuel Cell Partnership, a public-private partnership organization to promote the adoption of hydrogen vehicles in California.
Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell technology has advanced at an impressive pace since the FCHV introduction in 2002.  Toyota engineers have consistently improved vehicle range, durability and efficiency through improvements in the fuel cell stack and the high-pressure hydrogen storage system, while achieving significant cost reductions in materials and manufacturing.  When the FCHV-adv was introduced in 2008, it boasted an estimated range increase of more than 150% over the first generation FCHV.
In late 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy, Savannah River National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, approached Toyota to participate in a collaborative evaluation of the real-world driving range of the FCHV-adv.  When the range evaluation was completed in 2009, the FCHV-adv averaged the equivalent of 68 mpg and achieved an estimated range of 431 miles on a single fill of hydrogen compressed gas.  To compare, that’s more than double the range of the Highlander Hybrid with zero emissions.
In late 2007, the technology improvements implemented in the FCHV-adv were road tested in extreme conditions on a 2,300 mile trek from Fairbanks, Alaska to Vancouver, British Columbia along the Alaska-Canadian (ALCAN) highway.   The seven day trip confirmed substantial progress in reliability and durability, cold-weather operation and extended range capability of the hybrid fuel cell system.
I  think that we need  this kind of programs !!! They are so  necessary , is the next step to educate and prepare customers for the arrival of  sustainable mobility
Do you live in California or New York???
For additional information on Toyota’s fuel cell vehicle program, visit www.sustainablemobility.com