ComEd replaces 2,700 distribution poles as part of grid modernization

ComEd completed the replacement or reinforcement of more than 2,700 wood poles in its service territory in 2012, a 200 percent increase over previous years.

Inspecting, replacing and reinforcing poles makes ComEd‘s electric system more storm resistant and reduces customer power outages. In addition to reinforcement and replacement, ComEd inspected and treated more than 137,000 poles.

ComEd announced this goal early in 2012 as part of the grid modernization program under the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA), which was passed in 2011 by the Illinois General Assembly.

“Utility poles are the foundation for our above-ground system,” said Terence Donnelly, executive vice president and chief operating officer, ComEd. “This work is critically important in strengthening the electric grid. We are improving the reliability of our electric system for our customers, which includes preparing for damaging storms.”

ComEd uses treated wood poles for its distribution system. Distribution poles are typically up to 70 feet tall.

ComEd is investing $2.6 billion to upgrade and improve the reliability of its system as part of EIMA. The utility has been working to improve its infrastructure and add smart technologies, bringing benefits to customers throughout northern Illinois. Major accomplishments in 2012 include:

·      Installing over 470 distribution automation devices, or “smart switches,” which avoided 82,000 customer interruptions last year

·      Replacing or treating more than 464 miles of underground residential cable – a 100 percent increase over previous years

·      Replacing over 46 miles of mainline cable – around four times the annual average

·      Assessing over 8,000 manholes and refurbishing more than 4,500.

Commonwealth Edison Co. (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corp. (EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with about 6.6 million customers. ComEd provides service to about 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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