TN Burns $1B in Stimulus Funds on Dubious Electrical 'Smart Grid'

Engineers say it can't live up to claims


NASHVILLE — Public utility officials in Chattanooga, Knoxville and Memphis have preached the benefits of a new taxpayer-subsidized technology they say will lower their customers' utility bills and reduce electrical outages.

Known as a digital smart grid, this technology uses computers to distribute electricity. Those benefits, however, are short term — and that makes this investment, funded with almost $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars nationwide, an unwise use of money, according to an expert in computer and communications engineering.