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Galvin and the Village of Oak Park Join Forces to Give Power to the Consumer

On October 7, 2009, the Galvin Electricity Initiative and the Village of Oak Park, IL, held a Community Energy Planning Workshop to develop strategies to help consumers conserve energy, lower carbon emissions and improve reliability. The workshop, which took place in Council Chambers, Village Hall, was designed to reveal to communities the enormous technology development under way to empower electricity consumers. Participants included representatives from the Illinois Power Authority, Citizens Utility Board, General Electric, Tendril, EnergyHub™ and Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.

The workshop included a discussion of energy technology and strategies for building community support. Throughout the workshop, local leaders and participants gained insights into leveraging innovative technology to create a Perfect Power system. In addition, participants brainstormed strategies for leveraging policies and community action to develop a Community Energy Plan to achieve specific carbon, cost and conservation objectives.

Innovative technologies that put consumers in control of energy usage will become commercially viable only with widespread implementation of advanced metering infrastructure and dynamic pricing.

Workshop highlights included:

  • an overview of innovative technologies, including home automation, being developed to give consumers more control over how they use and purchase electricity;
  • information on improvements to the consumer in-home interface in terms of ease of use and automation; and
  • actions communities can take to empower residents to lower their costs and carbon footprints, including aggregation to procure low-carbon generation sources, on-bill financing to allow residents to invest in energy efficiency and distributed generation without raising overall energy bills, and neighborhood energy competitions.

Here’s what some of the experts had to say:

Demand is outpacing supply in certain locations and at peak times….Active demand reduction technologies have increased peak load reduction by 20 percent in numerous studies.

—David Najewicz, General Electric Consumer and Industrial

Consumers can save money and energy with better information and tools…Utilities and municipalities can use home energy management systems to enable demand response and to achieve energy efficiency goals.

—Seth Frader-Thompson, EnergyHub

Consumers benefit from access to timely and actionable information; choice of products, rates and energy partners; and control over a private and secure home network.

—Cameron Brooks, Tendril