ComEd has submitted a petition to the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) to approve the utility's application for federal stimulus grants that would fund half of a $350 million Smart Grid pilot. If approved and fully funded, ComEd would add 180,000 customers to its original Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) pilot proposal and finance other technologies to significantly reduce customer interruptions.
ComEd's application was submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy last month. It calls for expanding the proposed AMI pilot and more than doubling the number of customers receiving new Smart Meters from about 140,000 to 320,000 customers in Chicago and 31 other communities. The stimulus funding also would significantly expand investment in other advanced automation technology to make the transmission and distribution systems "smarter" and more reliable.
The petition to the ICC includes a request to allow ComEd to recover remaining costs of the stimulus projects after receiving the 50 percent match from the DOE. The ICC's approval would be in addition to the more than 100 letters of support the utility received from the City of Chicago, other municipalities and organizations for its federal application submitted in August.
"ICC support will greatly increase the chance that the DOE will select ComEd's application, as it will demonstrate strong local interest to put federal stimulus funds into action," said Anne Pramaggiore, president and chief operating officer, ComEd. "By tapping up to $175 million in federal stimulus funds, we can accelerate and multiply Smart Grid benefits to our customers and reduce customer costs."
Earlier this summer, ComEd filed a petition with the ICC recommending a one-year AMI pilot, one of the country's most comprehensive evaluations of how customers will interact with this innovative technology.
If the $350 million federal stimulus project is approved by the DOE and the rider by the ICC, the effect to the average residential customers' bills would be an average 35 cents per month beginning April 2010 - or an increase of about one half of a percent on an average customer bill of approximately $77.
ComEd's proposed expansion of smart grid technologies also will provide useful information to the ICC and other stakeholders as policies for statewide Smart Grid deployment are developed. ComEd's AMI pilot and Smart Grid vision will play an important role in building a more energy efficient and independent future for Illinois by delivering higher levels of reliability and providing customers unprecedented choices and control.
The federal matching funds come from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (ARRA), which is designed to accelerate the modernization of the nation's electric system and promote economic recovery through job creation. DOE will select projects for funding later this year, and if approved, benefits from the ComEd application also will include:
- Creation of about 3,800 jobs in northern Illinois.
- Deployment of additional smart meters in ComEd's service territory in combination with advanced pricing and billing options. Additional customers will receive in-home displays, programmable devices that will let them control their air conditioners remotely and Web interface options to help manage energy usage and costs.
- A unique project with the City of Chicago that integrates smart meters and advanced technology with energy efficiency incentives in urban communities targeted for sustainability investments through the Chicago Climate Action Plan.
- Dynamic Voltage Reduction technologies to reduce line losses the energy that is wasted as power is moved from power generation plants to homes and businesses.
- Intelligent substation technologies to improve safety and optimize maintenance practices while enhancing reliability and operational performance.