ComEd’s annual formula rate update request for distribution of electricity calls for a decrease of $23 million compared to the approved rates in effect in January of this year.
The filing made with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) marks the eighth formula rate request since the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA) or “Smart Grid Law” was enacted by the Illinois General Assembly in 2011.
It authorized investments of $2.6 billion to upgrade and modernize Illinois energy infrastructure, improve system reliability and empower customers to control energy consumption and costs.
Since 2012, ComEd customers have experienced a improvement in electric reliability as the frequency and duration of outages has been reduced by nearly 50 percent. From 2012 through 2017, there were more than 7.7 million avoided customer interruptions, including 1.5 million in 2017 due to investments in digital “smart switches” that automatically reroute power around potential problem areas. These avoided outages have resulted in $1.5 billion in societal savings.
While the smart grid investments and other major initiatives have created a total supply chain spend of almost $12 billion since 2011, and improved performance, total ComEd customer bills remain stable. Ten years ago, as new rates took effect in September of 2008, the average residential customer bill was about $85; in January of this year it was about $86.
This filing would decrease the average residential electricity delivery bill by about $0.50, effective in January of next year. ComEd’s per kWh residential rates trend below the average price across the entire U.S., including nearly 14 percent below the top 20 U.S. cities and 19 percent below the top 10 U.S. cities by population as of June 2017.
ComEd’s distribution rate request for 2019 covers actual costs for 2017 when the company completed major grid modernization upgrades focused on reliability improvement. It also includes investments for the current year. The installation of a total of 4 million smart meters is scheduled for completion in October, three years ahead of the original schedule. Also reflected in the filing are expansions for new customer data and distribution centers, continued system reliability programs and new technologies, such as Voltage Optimization, which enables more precise and efficient energy usage while improving power quality.