CHICAGO (Oct. 14, 2009)—CommonWealth Edison (ComEd) received unanimous approval from the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) for its recommended one-year advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) pilot. One of the most comprehensive tests of smart meter technology in the nation, this pilot will assess how technology can improve service, help customers make more informed decisions about energy use and contribute to lower energy costs and reduced carbon emissions.
“This pilot could help place Illinois in the forefront of states transitioning their electrical grids to meet customers’ needs,” said Anne Pramaggiore, president and chief operating officer, ComEd. “Our customers’ needs are evolving, and we have an opportunity to meet and exceed their expectations through smart technologies.”
ComEd customers will start receiving their new meters as early as November. If ComEd’s application for $175 million in federal matching funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) is approved, the number of customers that receive new smart meters could more than double from 131,000 to 310,000 customers.
A smart meter is a digital electric meter that collects usage information every 30 minutes and sends that information to ComEd through a secure network.
When the pilot is fully implemented in early summer 2010, this new technology will:
*Provide customers with daily usage information, accessible through the Internet, to help monitor their energy use and manage energy costs.
*Enable ComEd to access important account information on demand, so customer service representatives can provide more complete information, more quickly.
*Allow ComEd to begin assessing the potential operational, environmental and other benefits of smart meters for all ComEd customers.
“This means more informed energy consumption for customers included in the pilot,” Pramaggiore added. “Customers can take control of their electricity bills by accessing information about how much energy they use and how much it costs before they receive a bill at the end of the month.”
The pilot also will test customer interaction with a variety of energy management features and technologies including alternative pricing plans, Web interfaces, in-home displays, home area networks and programmable thermostats.
ComEd plans to install the meters between November 2009 and May 2010 in nine towns serviced by its Maywood operating center including Bellwood, Berwyn, Broadview, Forest Park, Hillside, Maywood, Melrose Park, Oak Park and River Forest, the Humboldt Park area in Chicago, and Tinley Park. These areas were selected because they are representative of the entire ComEd service territory and are a good test bed for technologies that may someday be deployed throughout the ComEd service territory.
The cost of the pilot is approximately $69 million. During 2010, this will increase the average residential customer’s bill by less than $5.00 a year.
In August, ComEd submitted an application to the DOE for $175 million in federal matching funds from ARRA, which is designed to accelerate the modernization of the nation’s electric system and promote economic recovery through job creation.