ComEd officials today informed the Chicago City Council Committee on Environmental Protection, Energy and Public Utilities at its annual summer readiness briefing that the company is well positioned to meet summer electricity demand.
ComEd President J. Barry Mitchell confirmed ComEd has sufficient resources in place to meet customer demand and fulfill its 15 percent reserve margin requirement under the PJM Regional Transmission Organization, which manages the electricity grid in all or parts of 13 states and the District of Columbia. Mitchell expects peak demand for electricity this summer could reach 23,525 MW, less than last summer's all-time record of 23,613 MW set Aug. 1, 2006. One MW powers approximately 300 homes equipped with air conditioning and modern appliances.
"ComEd is prepared both in terms of energy supply and system reliability," Mitchell said. "Our system performed outstanding during last year's record period, and we are poised as always to meet customer needs -- even on the hottest days."
The company also has provided more than 240,000 customers with about $11 million of relief in the form of bill credits just in time for summer. Of the $11 million, $4.8 million has gone to Chicago residents. By month's end, the company expects to issue $15.5 million in credits to more than 400,000 customers.
The funding is part of ComEd's three-year, $64 million Rate Relief and Assistant Initiative for customers most in need. In an effort to help offset summer cooling costs, credits ranging from $30 to $240 are being applied to customers' accounts. By the end of this year, ComEd will be providing $44 million in assistance through this relief package.
ComEd continues to invest in its infrastructure to enhance reliability and meet growing customer demand. Since 2000, ComEd has invested about $4.7 billion to enhance its electric distribution system throughout the northern Illinois service territory -- with $264.4 million invested in 2006. This includes improvements to the Chicago system, in which 72 percent of Chicago residents experienced one outage, or none at all, over the past 12 months. There also were 14 days in 2006 when not a single customer in the city experienced a planned or unexpected outage.
"We performed 107 summer critical projects in Chicago to bolster reliability and system capacity ahead of the coming summer," Mitchell said. "In addition to installing new distribution lines and extending existing lines, we conducted numerous drills and carried out preventive and corrective maintenance to prepare our personnel and equipment for the coming summer."
In 2006, Chicago customers averaged just over one outage (1.09 outage per customer per year). The average duration of these interruptions was 150 minutes. This performance was achieved despite a very hot summer during which ComEd's peak load record was broken on three occasions: July 17-23 (23,302 MW), July 31-23, (23,602 MW) and Aug. 1 (23,613 MW).
"Despite the heat and record-setting demand, outage frequency and duration would have been better had it not been for last October's devastating storms," said Mitchell, referring to the second-most powerful storm to affect Chicago since 1998. Without the October storms, outage duration in Chicago would have been 86 minutes, a 19 percent improvement over its five-year average.
Mitchell also gave the committee an update regarding ComEd's ongoing community commitments, environmental initiatives and civic activities. The company has spent more than $350 million since 1999 to develop renewable energy resources and invested more than $12 million in more than 50 solar installations throughout Chicago. The city now hosts 2 MW of solar generation, representing 60 percent of all solar energy in Illinois.
Non-profit organizations, schools, museums and performing arts organizations also received more than $5 million from ComEd to help enrich the lives of Chicagoans in 2006.
"We had another successful year in 2006," Mitchell said. "Our system, our people and our partnerships are expanding our ability to serve, and we're look forward to the future.
"Like many Chicagoans, we see the possibility of hosting the 2016 Olympics as a major event in the city's history. We look forward to promoting the city's candidacy, and in preparing Chicago to host the world, by ensuring reliable service at every home, business or venue -- new or existing."