Grand Rapids resident Merl Petzold plugs his recently purchased Chevrolet Volt into Consumers Energy’s public charging station.

Today in Grand Rapids we dedicated the first locally owned, plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) at our public charging station. Merl Petzold plugged his new Chevy Volt into Consumers Energy’s free public charging station located along Lake Drive in the city’s East Hills neighborhood.

Petzold’s visit helped officially dedicate the Coulomb Technologies ChargePoint America charging station. The station was installed in the parking lot shared by the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, Marie Catrib’s restaurant and several other businesses in the vibrant East Hills area. The Volt, General Motors first plug-in electric vehicle (PEV), is reaching Michigan showrooms this month.

The free charging station is the first public station installed in Grand Rapids, and is part of the innovative SmartStreet program in East Hills. It is one of many steps Consumers Energy is taking to promote PEVs including the addition of a PEV charging rate and an incentive program to encourage customers to install an at-home charging device.

Some of our company officials were on hand for the event along with representatives from the city of Grand Rapids, West Michigan Environmental Action Council and Berger Chevy, where Petzold purchased his Volt.

Today’s dedication continues progress on our SmartStreet program. Earlier this month, about 60 homes and businesses in the East Hills area received new smart meters. In April, SmartStreet participants will get access to their energy information via a special website or in-home display device. By accessing this information through a website or in-home display, customers can track energy usage by the month, week, day or hour.

SmartStreet is a demonstration of our smart meter technology and existing energy efficiency programs. The program involves 60 East Hills customers as well as the Grand Rapids Public Museum and the City/County Administration Building. Consumers Energy and the City of Grand Rapids frequently have worked to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy, including early participation in our Green Generation program.