A new pilot program launched in Union Square today will bring grid-powered electricity to the city's food carts, eliminating the use of noisy, polluting generators. Simply Grid, which won first place at this year's Startupalooza, launched similar pilot programs in Austin and Atlanta earlier this year and now they're partnering with the Mayor's Office, the DOT and Con Edison to bring the technology here. "It’s gratifying to be helping our community enjoy the food vendors they love while making the experience more environmentally friendly," said Simply Grid COO Jeffrey Hoffman.

So how does the plug-in system work? According to their release:

Electricity is made available to these vendors via outlets in industry standard electricity pedestals which have been customized with proprietary metering controllers. The controllers connect wirelessly to Simply Grid’s cloud-based platform which manages customer accounts, metering, and billing. The system allows vendors to initiate service with their mobile phones and connect to the electric grid with cables they already use with their generators.

The setup provides less expensive energy to vendors while also cutting down on pollution and carbon dioxide emissions by up to 9 metric tons. It's also quieter than the rumbling generators associated with mobile food vendors.

Superior street meat vendor Rafiqi's gets first dibs at the new power source at their setup on Broadway at East 17th Street. In addition to all the perks mentioned above, the operators are probably relieved their cart won't burst into flames anymore.