ComEd will file its petition with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) recommending communities to participate in the company's one-year Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) pilot - the first smart meter project designed to comprehensively assess how customers will interact with this innovative technology.
"AMI meters, also known as smart meters, can provide real-time information to customers and utilities about energy consumption and have the potential to transform the energy experience for our customers by opening a world of choices," said Anne Pramaggiore, president and chief operating officer, ComEd. "Other utilities have smart meter projects, but ours is the first that comprehensively tests the full customer experience with this innovative technology, including how its use will change customers' energy consumption."
ComEd's AMI pilot also will assess how technology can improve service reliability, help customers make smarter decisions about energy use and contribute to lower energy costs and reduced carbon emissions.
"No more blind energy consumption," Pramaggiore added. "Smart meters allow customers to take true control of their bills by providing information about how much energy they use and how much it costs before they receive a bill at the end of the month. We will test a variety of Web interfaces and in-home displays with a number of the meters, enabling information-based decisions about energy usage to improve energy efficiency, cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce energy bills."
Approximately 141,000 smart meters will be deployed in 11 suburban communities and in the City of Chicago as part of one of the most comprehensive tests of smart meters in the nation. "We will study the meters and associated infrastructure, conduct field testing and analysis of AMI systems and their abilities to deliver operational and reliability benefits to ComEd and our customers," said Fidel Marquez, senior vice president, Customer Operations, ComEd.
During the pilot, some customers will receive real-time electricity usage data that will allow them to better manage their electricity bills and reduce energy consumption. And some customers will have the ability to align budgets with usage and even consider using electricity during non-peak hours when cost is lower.
"The pilot is unique because it will test various customer applications, including Web interfaces, multiple in-home displays and programmable devices that can respond to a variety of pricing options and even allow customers to raise or lower the temperature in their homes remotely," said Terence Donnelly, executive vice president, Operations, ComEd. "The ability to remotely read meters and monitor the health of the electric distribution grid eventually will allow ComEd to improve service by recognizing power outages faster and through increased operational efficiencies."
In addition to the City of Chicago, the following communities will be recommended to participate in the AMI pilot: Bellwood, Berwyn, Broadview, Forest Park, Hillside, Maywood, Melrose Park, Oak Park, River Forest, and a winning participant in the Community Energy Challenge to be announced, an effort in which local municipalities were engaged to develop proposed integration plans for AMI technology. ComEd is also recommending installation of limited numbers of the smart meters at other locations.
The recommendation followed ComEd's participation in the ICC'S AMI workshop process in which stakeholders discussed all attributes for implementation. The communities selected reflect the attributes of the entire ComEd service territory. In determining the pilot area, ComEd first ranked its operating centers utilizing demographic, customer operations and other operational criteria and then further analyzed each of the communities within the most optimum operating center service area to identify the recommended pilot communities. Based on this analysis, ComEd determined that the Interstate 290 Corridor communities and the City of Chicago locations were properly representative for the pilot and this recommendation is part of the filing.
This filing also asks the ICC to support ComEd in its proposal for receiving stimulus funds, which would help finance part of the pilot and future Smart Grid investments.
Following an approximately six-month approval docket, the ICC will make a final decision regarding implementation and timing. Although rollout plans still are under development, new meter installation could begin in November 2009, once approved. ComEd's goal is to eventually deploy smart meters throughout the company's service territory as part of a full Smart Grid system.