ComEd has filed its annual delivery service rate update with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC). It reflects capital investments authorized by the $2.6 billion Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA), or Smart Grid Law, to modernize Illinois’ energy infrastructure. ComEd’s 2016 investments – including $621 million for Smart Grid-related work – have resulted in record reliability for its customers with a 44-percent reduction in the frequency of outages and “Best in Class” distinction for performance among peer utilities nationally.
ComEd is requesting a rate increase of approximately $96 million – about $1 per month for the average residential customer beginning in 2018 – to cover actual costs in 2016, one of the peak investment years of the smart grid program, and obligations for 2017. Launched in 2012, the smart grid program is delivering on budget and ahead of schedule. Major grid infrastructure initiatives that are focused on improving reliability will finish on schedule in June. Installation of nearly 4 million smart meters will be completed by the end of 2018, three years ahead of the original schedule. Additional distribution system improvements will continue into 2021, including but not limited to substation digital upgrades to enhance visibility onto the system and prevent potential problems from occurring, and investments in physical and cyber-security.
“The smart grid program is delivering, as promised, for our customers and the Illinois economy,” said Anne Pramaggiore, president and CEO, ComEd. “From best-on-record reliability to award-winning programs that save energy and money and highest customer satisfaction results in our history -- the investments to modernize our energy delivery system are working and producing tangible benefits and remarkable results.”
Through the on-time, on-budget execution of the smart grid investment program, ComEd customers’ bills remain stable. The average residential customer bill in 2011 was $81; in January of this year it was $80 and the 2017 formula rate update request would add $1, effective in January of 2018. Adjusted for inflation, ComEd average residential rates in 2016 were 25 percent less than in 1995 and they’re 17 percent below the average rates in the 10 largest American cities.
“We now have a stronger and smarter grid that provides a firm foundation for the next phase of energy reinvention that will support renewables like solar and wind, expand energy efficiency and provide better and smarter energy products and services that will add even more value to our customers and communities,” said Pramaggiore.
Smart meters have been installed in more than 3 million homes and businesses in northern Illinois, and new smart meter-enabled programs are creating savings opportunities for ComEd customers. Peak Time Savings program participants are earning financial incentives by reducing energy usage during just a few peak demand hours. More than 166,000 customers have earned $1.2 million in bill credits and more than 50,000 customers have registered to receive High-Usage Alerts via text, phone, or email to be informed if their energy use is trending higher than normal.
ComEd’s energy efficiency program, which is expected to expand significantly as a result of the Future Energy Jobs Act enacted last year, has saved customers more than 21.5 million megawatt hours of energy – enough to power more than 2.3 million homes for a year – and created savings for customers of $2.3 billion on electric bills.
The Smart Grid Law, which was enacted by the Illinois General Assembly in 2011, established a performance-based formula ratemaking model that holds utilities accountable for achieving a broad range of metrics. The annual filing reflects the previous year’s actual expenses and the current year’s projected annual investments. These costs and investments will be reviewed by the ICC and other stakeholders over the next eight months and the ICC will issue its final decision on the request in December.