FAQ

The Maui Smart Grid Project will demonstrate and evaluate new technologies that will help residents better manage and reduce energy consumption during periods of high demand, and assist Maui Electric Co. (MECO) to operate the power grid more efficiently. These technologies will also help  to restore power outages faster and integrate more renewable energy into Maui’s electricity grid.

The U.S. Department of Energy is funding this project under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) as part of a nationwide set of demonstration projects.

Maui Electric Co. (MECO) and the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) at the University of Hawaii are the organizations leading the project.

The project team has selected Maui Meadows in South Kihei as the site for evaluating home-based Smart Grid technologies with volunteer participants.

The results from the project will be compared with other demonstration projects throughout the U.S. and used for decision making on future Smart Grid initiatives in the state of Hawaii.  The data will be used to help manage grid operations more efficiently.

Participants will receive a professionally installed Smart Meter and access to a personalized secure website that provides data on energy usage. Additional technologies will be available to qualified project participants. These include an in-home energy use display; a smart thermostat, accessible remotely; a smart water heater control system; and a solar PV monitoring system (if applicable).

The Smart Grid uses modern communications and information technologies to improve the electricity system, from utility power plants, through the transmission and distribution lines, and into homes.  Smart Grid technologies can improve utility operations and enable customers to better manage and control their energy usage.

Smart Meters are electric meters that allow two-way communication between your home and the electric utility’s facilities via a wireless network.  The Smart Meters capture a limited set of data which includes home energy usage. The data is measured on average every 15 minutes, and stored locally on the meter. A few times a day the meter sends the stored data back to the utility via the wireless network. The meter also sends alerts when power outages occur.

The meters use low-energy radio frequency waves to transmit information. Smart Meters use the same bands as do many common, everyday devices such as baby monitors, portable phones, microwave ovens and medical devices.

Your new Smart Meter will provide a number of benefits, including improved information on your energy use, potential energy savings, and faster power restoration following outages. Some participants will be offered home energy audits, which can also help to save energy.

The project is enrolling volunteers between September and December 2011.  Equipment will be installed in January 2012.  In early 2012, secure website access will be provided to participants and qualified households will be offered smart in-home devices. After the installation phase the project will evaluate the technology and continue to collect data for at least a year.

Check www.MauiSmartGrid.com for updates on the timeline.

Pilot project participants must be residents of Maui Meadows. Please contact the Maui Economic Development Board, Inc. (MEDB) at (808) 875-2300 ext. 6803, or go to http://www.MauiSmartGrid.com for sign up information. Participation is being processed by MEDB.

The new technologies will be supplied and installed at no cost to project participants. The Maui Smart Grid Project is funded in part through a grant from the Department of Energy as a technology demonstration project.

Yes. Individuals will have access to their usage data through a personalized, secure website.

There have been numerous independent scientific studies that have examined this topic in great detail. Radio frequency emissions from Smart Grid technology, including all technology being used in this project, are certified by the Federal Communications Commission’s rules for use in this spectrum.

  1. California Council on Science and Technology (CCST)
  2. Edison Electric Institute (EEI)
  3. Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
  4. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)
  5. Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
  6. Federal Communications Council
  7. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  8. Utilities Telecom Council (UTC)
  9. Maine CDC Executive Summary
  10. New York Times Article
  11. The Economist Article

There is nothing you have to do during the installation process. You will be notified once the installation is complete.

MECO will only need the same access to your property as it currently does for routine meter reading and maintenance.  Participants that opt to test additional in-home devices will need to provide access for the installation company, and arrangements will be made directly with residents.

Maui Smart Grid participants will begin to receive information on their daily and hourly energy usage in Spring of 2012. They will be notified by the project team when this information becomes available online. The team will provide all participants with a secure and personalized log-in for the project website that will provide detailed information on energy usage and consumption behavior.

Smart Grid data is covered by MECO’s corporate policy on security and protection for all its systems.  The security implemented for the wireless network is based on the same technology as seen in online banking, and adheres to similar security standards required by the Department of Defense for wireless networks, for example.

The MECO account holder for the residence will receive the log-in information for the usage data from the meter. This information cannot be shared with a third-party without the written consent of the account holder.

Yes. The new Smart Meters will be capable of net metering.  Net metering is the deduction of any energy outflows from metered energy inflows. Under net metering, a system owner receives retail credit for at least a portion of the electricity they generate.

 

Comments are closed.