Energy contest closing: As smart meters keep up with the Joneses
The contest, which will also provide eight runners up with a free $500-value professional home energy audit, is a partnership between the non-profit Local Energy Alliance Program, LEAP, and Dominion Virginia Power, whose president unveiled the company's new "smart meters" on the Downtown Mall a little over a year ago.
Charlottesville is the first community in Virginia–- and one of the first in the nation–- to get the meters, which give real-time feedback on power usage to the consumer and the company. The approximately $20 million program envisions installing about 46,500 of the meters in the city of Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle.
At the June 2009 announcement, Dominion President Farrell called the meters part of a "smart grid" which–- besides ending the time-consuming practice of driving around reading meters–- can give instant reports of power outages and help promote conservation. Already, many customers may have noticed that their bills include a new datapoint the meters have enabled: comparing their electric usage to that of nearby similarly-sized homes.
The deadline for the $10,000 contest is August 20.