ComEd has filed with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) its 10-year, $2.6 billion Infrastructure Investment Plan. It will invest $1.3 billion to strengthen the electric system and another $1.3 billion to add new, digital smart grid and advanced meter technology.

Significant investments are aimed at a storm hardening program, which is designed to reduce the susceptibility of certain power line circuits to storm-related damage, including high winds, thunderstorms and ice storms. Power lines will be prioritized based on their historical susceptibility to storm-related damage and the ability to provide the greatest customer benefit. The 2012 reliability investments also include the inspection and any necessary treatment of approximately 133,400 wood utility poles.

The plan outlines $139 million in capital investments that will be dedicated to improving system reliability and $94 million in smart grid investments. The largest investments in reliability enhancements include refurbishment and replacement of underground residential distribution (URD) cable.

The filing also included the utility’s $233 million Investment Plan for 2012 and its plan for a smart grid Test Bed to provide entrepreneurs “on-grid” locations for testing of smart grid-related technologies and services. Implementation of the investment program began this week. The installation of advanced meters in homes and businesses is slated to begin later this year, subject to approval of ComEd’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure Deployment Plan (AMI Plan) by the ICC, and will continue through 2021. In the first five years of the program, ComEd will reinforce the electric system infrastructure to improve reliability and reduce the frequency and duration of power outages.

“The grid modernization law is a value promise made to Illinois consumers,” said Anne Pramaggiore, president and COO, ComEd. “Our entire organization is now focused on kicking off the critical construction programs laid out in the legislation. It is a road map for improved system reliability, enhanced customer service and a 21st century electric distribution system that will support the digital economy and the greener economy of the future. We’re excited to submit this filing today because it provides us with the opportunity to explain the details of the work we are performing to deliver added value to our customers.”