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Naperville Smart Grid Initiative: Who Pays?


Naperville realized new development was diverting critical investment dollars from the existing distribution system. They took a bold step, charging new customers a temporary special rate or rider that covered the cost of system expansion to serve new customers. This allowed Naperville to apply rates collected from existing customers to the smart grid project.

Naperville leadership also asked a different question, “ What would we rather pay for: a steady stream of waste or an investment to stop it?” Naperville’s power system was out in the open prey to weather, animals, and accidents. A significant portion of what residents pay for distribution improvement is diverted to putting this exposed system back up, every time it falls down. More importantly, electricity outages exert a tremendous economic and emotional toll on residents and businesses.

Today, electricity is critical to life safety for many residents who require electricity for heating, cooling, and/or medical support. At greatest risk are senior citizens. During an outage, police and fire are dispatched to determine the extent of the outage, ensure traffic safety, assist senior citizens with building egress, protect vulnerable businesses and homes, and begin recovery/response activities. Many residents utilize candles for light, a significant fire and safety hazard. Overall, a power outage is a significant safety risk to communities.

Power outages also have a significant economic impact. Local business is interrupted, causing thousands of dollars in lost productivity, sales and spoiled food. A multiday outage costs residents, as a minimum, several hundred dollars for lost food. In some cases, parkways are littered with furniture, carpets, and other personal items that were damaged because of inoperable sump pumps. Flooded basements, spoiled food, and lost production costs U.S. taxpayers billions in waste and the increased cost of goods.

Naperville Smart Grid Initiative Case Study

The Naperville Smart Grid Initiative Too Many Outages Who Pays?
The Community Advantage A New Partner: U.S. Department of Energy Innovation and Outcomes