ComEd has filed an application for $175 million in matching funds made available under the recently passed $787 billion American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) to help finance the company's advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) pilot and additional investment in smart grid technologies in northern Illinois.

For inclusion in its application submission, ComEd received nearly 70 letters of support from municipalities and organizations including the City of Chicago.

"Smart Grid technologies will enhance service reliability, help customers make smarter decisions about energy use and contribute to lower energy costs and reduced carbon emissions," said Anne Pramaggiore, president and chief operating officer, ComEd. "If accepted, our proposal will offset some of the costs involved in building a next-generation electrical system that will deliver significant customer value and help ensure economic competitiveness in Illinois."

Earlier this summer, ComEd filed a petition with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) recommending a one-year AMI pilot, one of the country's most comprehensive evaluations of how customers will interact with this innovative technology. Current plans call for the deployment of approximately 141,000 smart meters in 11 suburban communities and in the City of Chicago, and will include tests of customers' responses to alternative pricing plans, in-home displays and Home Area Network control systems.

The ARRA provides matching grant amounts for Smart Grid initiatives due to the significant economic and societal benefits of the technology. If approved, the federal funding would be used for:

  • 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. -
  • If accepted, ComEd's proposal is projected to create about 3,800 jobs in northern Illinois.
  • Automation of the distribution system to enhance reliability by eliminating an estimated 400,000 customer interruptions every year.
  • Conservation Voltage Reduction technologies to reduce line losses the energy that is wasted as power is moved from power generation plants to homes.
  • Intelligent substation technologies to improve safety and optimize maintenance practices while enhancing reliability and operational performance.

ComEd also applied for federal funding for an innovative test integrating solar power with smart metering dynamic pricing and energy storage to increase reliability and provide more options to manage energy use.

ComEd's proposed expansion of smart grid technologies 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 also 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 Department of Energy's decision to award grants is anticipated sometime later this year.