ComEd is seeking to accelerate the timetable for installing smart meters that help customers better manage and reduce their energy consumption and costs. The utility intends to file a request with the Illinois Commerce Commission, which directed ComEd to pursue a path to acceleration, to complete the installation of more than four million smart meters by 2018, ahead of the currently scheduled 2021. If approved, the accelerated program would begin in 2014, increasing the number of smart meters installed in 2014 from 160,000 to 500,000.
The accelerated deployment means that ComEd customers will realize more than $150 million in savings over what was envisioned with the current installation schedule.
Among the first group of ComEd customers to see increased deployment of smart meters will be residents on the south side of Chicago. Under ComEd’s proposal, customers on Chicago’s south side will have more than 260,000 smart meters installed in 2014 and the entire area completed in 2015 – approximately six months sooner than in the original plan.
“An accelerated deployment of smart meters in Chicago will provide more residents with the opportunity to conserve electricity and save money,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “A modern, high-tech electric infrastructure is essential for Chicago’s global economic competitiveness.”
With the accelerated deployment, ComEd customers will more rapidly gain benefits offered by smart meters including new tools to better manage their electricity consumption and costs. Customers can use smart meters to access information on their individual energy consumption and costs on a 24/7 basis. By using “My Energy Tools” at ComEd.com, for example, customers can see their usage from the prior day, on an hour-by-hour basis, helping them make informed decisions about the overall and timing of use of appliances and other electrical devices.
ComEd is actively exploring a range of solutions, partnerships and programs to help customers benefit from of smart meters. Acceleration of smart meter installation will speed the move to a more energy efficient future.
“Faster deployment of the smart grid makes economic sense for Illinois consumers,” said David Kolata, executive director of the Citizens Utility Board (CUB). “Not only will it lower overall implementation costs through economies of scale, but it will also allow consumers to more quickly access smart grid benefits, including improved reliability, better energy efficiency, and new, money-saving power pricing programs.”
ComEd is launching an initiative to identify and partner with third parties offering new products and services that can work with the smart grid to deliver increased value to customers, building on the current pilot test bed.
The initiative will also support customers’ ability to take advantage of these new products and services by developing a process that makes it simple for customers to identify and find new products that will work with the ComEd smart meter system. The new meters also provide information that helps customers take advantage of market pricing to better manage their energy costs.