The first time the worker from Reliant Energy knocked on the door of Doug Shoemaker and Michelle Dugan’s home in the historic Sixth Ward, they almost didn’t open it.

“I think I told him to just leave his material and we’d get back to him,” said Dugan.

But eventually the couple studied the offer from the retail electric provider — to turn their neighborhood into a sort of laboratory for smart grid technology — and decided to get on board.

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