Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) will be working with GE Energy and Silver Spring Networks to build the foundation of a smart grid in northern Illinois. The two companies will be partners for ComEd’s proposed Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) pilot, the first step in Smart Grid deployment that will allow customers to take control of their bills by providing information about how much energy they use and how much it costs before they receive a bill at the end of the month.
On June 1, ComEd filed its petition with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) including its recommendation for the meter and information technology partners to participate in the company’s one-year AMI pilot. If approved, approximately 141,000 smart meters will be deployed in 11 suburban communities and the city of Chicago – the first smart meter project designed to comprehensively assess how customers will interact with this innovative technology.
GE Energy will provide the “smart meters,” critical components of an end-to-end Smart Grid solution. Silver Spring Networks will provide its open standards-based, secure, wireless network communications Smart Energy Network software and services in support of the project.
The pilot will test customer interaction with a variety of energy management features and technologies, including alternative pricing plans, Web interfaces, in-home displays, home area network control systems and programmable thermostats. It is part of a three-year portfolio of energy efficiency programs developed to reduce energy consumption, peak load and carbon emissions, while saving customers money and positioning Illinois as a national leader in energy efficiency.
ComEd and GE Energy are active members of the Illinois Statewide Smart Grid Collaborative, an organization of government, technology and social factions developing a strategic plan for Smart Grid deployment throughout the state. Illinois was recently named one of “the top 10’smartest’ states in 2009” for smart grid leadership by SmartGrid News. As Chicago’s smart grid deployment grows, technology could be showcased in the city’s bid for the 2016 Olympics.
ComEd serves approximately 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois. The company plans to eventually deploy a Smart Grid infrastructure throughout its territory.