US Sen. Sanders to talk Vt. 'smart grid' benefits

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders says "smart grid" electrical technology offers real benefits for Vermont consumers and the environment.

Sanders and some Vermont environmental leaders said at a news conference on Monday that Vermont is a national leader in developing a smarter, stronger, more efficient and reliable electrical system.

Sanders says Vermont received $69 million in federal stimulus funds to modernize its electric transmission system.

As an example of the technology's benefits, a representative of the Vermont Electric Cooperative said its near-universal smart meter coverage cut the outage response time in half after Tropical Storm Irene hit the state last year.

The U.S. Department of Energy says that in the long term, smart-grid technology can cut carbon emissions from electricity use by up to 15 percent a year.