Chicago, April 23, 2012 — In a step toward empowering customers with new smart meter technology, ComEd filed its advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) deployment plan with the Illinois Commerce Commission.
The plan outlines ComEd's strategy for deploying smart meters across its service area — a change that will allow two-way communication between ComEd and its customers and enable customers to conserve energy, save money and make smarter energy choices. As outlined in the plan, the implementation will:
* Install about 130,000 smart meters in 2012 in the following communities: Berkeley, Brookfield, Cicero, Elmwood Park, Forest View, Franklin Park, Harwood Heights, La Grange Park, Lyons, Norridge, North Riverside, Northlake, RiverGrove, Riverside, Rosemont, Schiller Park, Stickney, Stone Park and Westchester. Installation will continue in areas served by the Maywood operating center, where most of the meters were installed for ComEd's AMI pilot program;
* Install an additional 370,000 smart meters in 2013 in the remaining areas encompassed by ComEd's operating centers in Maywood, South Chicago and Glenbard; and nearly 520,000 in 2014 in the areas of ComEd's operating centers in South Chicago, Glenbard and Mount Prospect;
* Occur over a 10-year period and introduce more than four million smart meters in all, with ComEd's 19 regional operating centers acting as hubs for smart meter deployment throughout the process.
Customers will see a number of direct benefits from smart meters, including:
* Programs that offer financial rebates when customers reduce their energy usage at peak times. It is estimated that enrollment in peak time rebate programs over the course of the next 20 years could cumulatively save customers up to $292 million.
* Facilitate additional product and service choices to help customers manage their energy usage.
* More effective outage management, including automatic detection of outages, so that, once the system is fully integrated, customers will not have to call in to report an outage.
Smart meters also will enable ComEd to achieve greater operational efficiencies, savings that will be passed on to customers. These efficiencies could save customers $2.6 billion over the 20-year life of the smart meters, according to a cost-benefit analysis by Black & Veatch, a consultancy that evaluated operational cost savings as part of the plan that was filed with the ICC. Once fully deployed, operational efficiency-related savings achieved through smart meters include:
* A 90 percent reduction over 10 years in electricity consumption by inactive meters — a cost that is borne by all customers.
* A 50 percent reduction over 10 years of unaccounted for energy (theft and tampering) — another cost that is borne by all customers.
* Reducing bad debt expenses — another cost that is borne by all customers — by $30 million per year.
Before submitting its finalized AMI Deployment Plan to the ICC today, ComEd consulted with the Smart Grid Advisory Council, a new nine-member panel created by the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act and appointed by Gov. Quinn. The AMI plan is subject to approval by the ICC.
A smart meter is a digital electric meter that collects usage information every 30 minutes and sends that information to ComEd through a wireless connection. Electricity usage is also communicated directly to consumers so that they can see their energy usage trends.
Current meters only measure cumulative consumption. Smart meters will improve service, contribute to lower energy costs, reduce carbon emissions and help consumers make more informed decisions about how and when they use energy.
ComEd's AMI Plan includes a customer outreach and education program designed to educate customers about the benefits their new meters offer. Before the meters are installed, ComEd will inform customers about how to use their new meters to reduce their energy costs.
ComEd's education and outreach plan considers customer research, best practices and lessons learned from previous implementations of advanced meter technology by ComEd's AMI Pilot in 2009/2011 and by other utilities. Customers also will have access to new web-based tools that can help manage monthly energy budgets.