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updated: 6/9/2014 4:15 PM

Lottery to choose participants in Naperville energy system test

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Naperville residents can throw their names in the hat for the chance to test an online energy management system the city could use with its smart grid electric meters.

The online portal, provided by a Canadian firm, Lowfoot, could be integrated with the electric smart meters installed throughout the city if the free 12-week trial goes well, spokeswoman Linda LaCloche said.

"We're just trying to find out if the portal is a good fit for our utility customers," LaCloche said.

The city will choose 50 residential and 10 commercial customers through a lottery to participate in the test.

A link to sign up for the lottery is available at naperville.il.us/eportal.aspx. Those who wish to enter will be asked to provide their name, phone number and email address by 8 a.m. Monday, June 23.

LaCloche said the city wants to find out if users can easily see, understand and make decisions about their energy use by viewing the portal and reading weekly energy summaries the system will send by email.

Trial participants, including some city council members, staff members and residents who serve on a committee as smart grid ambassadors, will be asked their opinions about the portal so feedback can be incorporated into a future recommendation to the council.

Chosen participants will be notified by late June and the trial is expected to begin this summer.

The trial of the Lowfoot portal comes as the city is taking legal action against Calico Energy Inc. of Bellevue, Wash., which was supposed to deliver an online energy management system under a contract the city approved in 2010.

The city is seeking the return of nearly $800,000 it has paid Calico since the contract was approved because the company failed to deliver a functioning energy management portal.

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