One of the biggest downfalls of the United States' current electrical grid is that it doesn’t always efficiently distribute power. That’s why highly populated areas can experience a brownout, or a reduction in electricity availability, during times of extreme usage. When temperatures soar in Columbus, for example, and consumers crank up the air conditioner, it taxes the current electrical grid.
American Electric Power, an Ohio-based cooperative, has launched a smart grid project to store excess energy and reduce shortages during peak usage times. And, instead of simply sending out a news release about the ways its customers can benefit, the cooperative created a gridSMART mobile exhibit to illustrate ways the fledgling program saves energy and money. The interactive stations allow consumers to compare smart meters with traditional meters, test their electricity-related knowledge and discover how American Electric Power is keeping their lights on -- even when everyone’s trying to keep their home a balmy 68 degrees in the summer.