Summer is just around the corner and ComEd’s workforce and systems are ready for the demands of the warmer temperatures ahead, according to the utility. Through its smart grid program and storm- hardening project, ComEd has continued to invest in upgrading its delivery system and improving its safety and reliability.
In its annual summer readiness presentation to the Illinois Commerce Commission, ComEd noted the benefits of its investments in smart grid and smart meter technology, in addition to ongoing storm-hardening work, which have reduced the frequency and duration of power outages. In addition, ComEd’s storm restoration has improved by 30 percent since 2011.
As part of the its summer preparedness program, the company also conducts emergency response drills that include employees from all areas, testing of computer and emergency systems and reviewing emergency and storm processes and procedures.
Additionally, the utility is engaged with other utilities, state agencies and companies to share best practices for storm response. On May 21 and 22, ComEd and the Edison Electric Institute will co-host an annual storm symposium with leaders from 15 utilities from around the country discussing best practices. On June 19, ComEd will host its second statewide emergency drill with utilities, state agencies and companies working together to understand how to get critical services back following a major weather disaster.
As part of the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA), or Smart Grid law, ComEd is in the midst of a $2.6 billion program to modernize its electrical grid. The program includes $1.3 billion to upgrade and storm harden its electric system by replacing thousands of miles of cable and thousands of poles, as well as upgrading substations and other equipment. The utility will spend another $1.3 billion to digitize the system into a smart grid.
The smart grid includes installing advanced technology to help reduce customer power interruptions. For example, smart switches (also known as distribution automation devices) route power around potential problem areas, often with no noticeable interruption in service.
The investments have, and will continue to, enhance reliability and serve as an asset to businesses that value a modern, digital-based smart grid. In addition to helping to avoid millions of customer interruptions, smart grid work has provided economic benefits to the state by supporting the creation of 3,600 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in Illinois, including about 1,400 FTE jobs at the utility and its contractors.