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Council OK’s smart meter website

With 120,000 smart meters installed across the city, Glendale is ready to get to the next step: building one Web portal where customers can check their utility consumption in order to modify their use and save money.

The City Council approved paying CherryRoad Technologies $187,880 to implement the portal technology, which officials say will help the smart meters live up to their potential. Smart meters allow customers to track their energy use and change their behavior in order to save money. But that will work only if people pay attention, city officials said.

“Residents will have one log-in and can access all of their particular information,” said Ed Fraga, director of the Information Services Department.

Currently, customers can visit Glendale Water & Power’s website and see how much electricity their neighbors are using, but the new portal will allow residents to continue to do that and track their own use in real-time.

The website will be ready in about six months, Fraga said.

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FOR THE RECORD: This amends an earlier version that incorrectly attributed the debut time as being in January. Fraga said the web portal will be ready in about six months.

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While the smart meters have been largely supported by the City Council, even the technology’s most ardent critic, Councilman Rafi Manoukian, said during a meeting this week that the online portal made sense.

“I’m opposed to the smart meters, but I would not be doing justice to the community to not approve the items to make this technology work,” Manoukian said.

Money for the web portal has been budgeted since March 2010 as part of the smart grid rollout.

Another way customers are viewing their energy information prior to January is through a digital picture frame built by Burbank-based Ceiva. A select group of customers participating in a pilot program are in the process of testing the frames, which capture information sent from smart meters and display it on a screen that shows water and electricity use in real-time.