ComEd (Illinois) has received unanimous approval from the Illinois Commerce Commission for its recommended one-year advanced metering infrastructure pilot. This pilot will assess how technology can improve service, help customers make more informed decisions about energy use and contribute to lower energy costs and reduced carbon emissions.

ComEd customers will start receiving their new meters as early as November. If ComEd's application for $175 million in federal matching funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) is approved, the number of customers that receive new smart meters could more than double from 131,000 to 310,000 customers.

When the pilot is fully implemented in early summer 2010, this new technology will:

  • Provide customers with daily usage information, accessible through the Internet, to help monitor their energy use and manage energy costs.
  • Enable ComEd to access important account information on demand, so customer service representatives can provide more complete information, more quickly.
  • Allow ComEd to begin assessing the potential operational, environmental and other benefits of smart meters for all ComEd customers.

The pilot also will test customer interaction with a variety of energy management features and technologies including alternative pricing plans, Web interfaces, in-home displays, home area networks and programmable thermostats.

ComEd plans to install the meters between November 2009 and May 2010 in nine towns serviced by its Maywood operating center including Bellwood, Berwyn, Broadview, Forest Park, Hillside, Maywood, Melrose Park, Oak Park and River Forest, the Humboldt Park area in Chicago, and Tinley Park. These areas were selected because they are representative of the entire ComEd service territory and are a good test bed for technologies that may someday be deployed throughout the ComEd service territory.

The cost of the pilot is approximately $69 million. During 2010, this will increase the average residential customer's bill by less than $5.00 a year.

In August, ComEd submitted an application to the DOE for $175 million in federal matching funds from ARRA, which is designed to accelerate the modernization of the nation's electric system and promote economic recovery through job creation.

ComEd also submitted a petition to the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) in September to approve the utility's request to allow ComEd to recover remaining costs of the stimulus projects after receiving the 50 percent match from the DOE.

The DOE stimulus funding also would significantly expand investment in other advanced automation technology to make the transmission and distribution systems "smarter" and more reliable.

To ensure customers understand the new meters and the benefits they can provide, ComEd will conduct outreach to customers in the pilot footprint, and provide services including customer care representatives trained to answer customer questions about the meters and the pilot.