T&D World Magazine
Smart Meter-Enabled Tools Put the Power in Customers' Hands

Smart Meter-Enabled Tools Put the Power in Customers' Hands

ComEd encourages customers to take advantage of energy management tools to control energy usage.

With more than 1.4 million smart meters installed in northern Illinois, customers with smart meters can leverage smart meter-enabled tools and pricing programs to help them manage their energy usage and save money on electric bills. Customers with smart meters can access ComEd’s online energy management tools, sign up for high-usage alerts, receive weekly usage reports summarizing daily electricity use, enroll in ComEd’s Peak Time Savings program and more to enjoy the benefits smart meters have to offer.

“As we continue to deploy smart meters across northern Illinois, these investments are providing more customers with greater opportunities to manage their energy use,” said Val Jensen, senior vice president of Customer Operations, ComEd. “Innovative smart meter-enabled programs like Peak Time Savings allow customers to voluntarily reduce their energy use when the costs for electricity are typically higher due to greater demand. Programs like this are even more valuable during the summer, when people generally use more electricity to cool their homes and businesses,” said Jensen.

The smart grid law passed by the Illinois General Assembly in 2011 opened the doors for ComEd to modernize its 100-year old system and provide customers with improved reliability while also enhancing economic development in Illinois and building smart infrastructure for the future. As part of this $2.6 billion modernization program, all of ComEd’s nearly four million customers will receive smart meters by the end of 2018. With a smart meter, customers can see how much electricity they use and make changes in the way they use energy. In addition, smart meters automatically send electricity-usage information to ComEd eliminating the need for estimated bills and reducing operating costs that become savings on customer electric bills. Once fully deployed in 2018, the high-tech meters will also immediately alert the company to power outages.

Customers with smart meters can take advantage of ComEd’s smart meter-enabled tools and make a direct impact on their electric bills.

  • Personalized Energy-Management Tools are available by logging into your online ComEd account. Here, customers can access free personalized energy saving tips, set savings goals, enroll in high-usage alerts which notify customers when their electricity is trending higher than usual for their household, and sign up to receive weekly usage reports via email.
  • Peak Time Savings (PTS) helps customers save by voluntarily reducing electricity use during designated time periods when energy is most in demand. Currently more than 58,000 ComEd customers are enrolled in this program where enrollees can earn $1 credit on their electric bills for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity they reduce during PTS hours. On Sept. 1, ComEd opened Peak Time Savings Hours and as a result, customers enrolled in this program saved a total of $88,000. ComEd is the first utility in the Midwest to offer this smart meter-enabled program to customers.
  • The Residential Real Time Pricing (RRTP) program is an hourly pricing program that allows residential customers to pay the hourly prices for electricity which means customers can save by using electricity when prices are lower. Participants also receive customer support and services to help manage costs with hourly pricing. Services include real-time high price alerts, predicted day-ahead high price alerts, an online bill comparison tool, and information to help guide energy decisions.
  • Energy Insights Online monitors a building’s electricity consumption and converts this data into simple, easy-to-understand usage graphs and reports that can be accessed online. Business customers also have the option of enhancing their Energy Insights Online energy data access and visibility with Green Button Connect My Data (GBC). GBC supports the Energy Insights Online service by enabling business customers to leverage the Green Button Standard and authorize third party service providers direct access to their facility’s energy usage.
  • Business Energy Analyzer analyzes your business’ electricity usage month-to-month or year-to-year. Business customers can receive personalized energy efficiency tips based on their usage, identify potential cost savings and set energy efficiency goals, and understand how their electricity usage compares with similar businesses.

ComEd also manages one of the largest energy efficiency programs in the nation. The ComEd Smart Ideas Energy Efficiency Program has saved customers more than $1 billion. Home and business owners can take advantage of the program that offers a variety of ways to cut energy use and costs including easy energy savings tips such as:

  • Program your thermostat. Setting your thermostat 10 degrees higher in the summer when you leave your home and before you go to sleep could save you up to 15 percent a year on cooling costs.
  • Maintain Your Air Conditioner. Cooling your home can be the largest use of energy during the summer months. Make sure your air conditioning unit is clear of debris and has a clean air filter. Your air conditioner will last longer and save energy by working more efficiently.
  • Set your fridge and freezer to the recommended temperature settings. Set your fridge temperature between 35 and 38 degrees, and your freezer at 0 degrees. Otherwise you’re just overcooling your food.
  • Take advantage of the ComEd Smart Ideas® Energy Efficiency Program. ComEd offers customers a suite of solutions, including assessments, rebates, discounts, and recycling to help them save on their energy bills.

The utility continues to look for ways to deliver more savings to customers directly and through the market. Other measures implemented by ComEd to help customers save money and manage their energy bills include a $50 million reduction in customers’ delivery rates, which will go into effect in January of 2016. Another example is a recent regional energy auction in which ComEd’s energy efficiency programs cleared $57 million for the 2018-19 procurement year; ComEd will pass along these savings to our customers.

Recent legislation supported by ComEd, known as ComEd’s Future Energy Plan, builds on the benefits of the smart grid to expand support for renewable energy in Illinois and ensure that energy consumers and the state economy will continue to benefit from affordable power, a more secure and resilient grid and innovation that is establishing Illinois as a leader for a greener, cleaner future.

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