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ComEd smart meter rollout two years ahead
ComEd plans to deploy 4 million smart meters across the state of Illinois by 2021

In the US, Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), the largest utility in the state of Illinois, is running two years ahead on its US$2.6 billion smart meter rollout.

Local media report that ComEd began installing the first of more than 80,000 smart meters in Rockford this week, the third largest city in Illinois.

The utility plans to deploy meters to 9,800 houses and businesses in Rockford before the end of the year, bringing forward the initial deployment date of 2017.

The meters will go to customers who have estimated electricity usage on their monthly bills.

An additional 70,000 smart meters will be installed in 2016 and 2017, reports the Rockford Register Star.

State-wide smart meter rollout

ComEd plans to switch its four million northern Illinois customers to the new technology by 2021.

Approved by the legislature in 2013, ComEd is funding the deployment by charging customers' a levy on their rates.

The utility estimates that its average customer will pay about US$3 more a month over the 10-year span of its metering modernisation programme. 

Mayor of Rockford Larry Morrissey said the upgrading the city's technology has been an anchor part of its capital investments, such as laying broadband fiber cable throughout the city whenever new roads are built.

Mr Morrissey said: "ComEd's system is very much in line with that overall progression, making sure we have smart utilities to match our goals as a smart city."

ComEd's demand response programme

The utility offers peak-savings programmes that allow customers to reduce energy consumption on the hottest days of the year to earn a credit on their bill.

Earlier this month, ComEd offered its smart meter customers cash incentives or credits to cut electricity usage during periods of high demand as summer temperatures climb in the Midwest.

ComEd has 3,500 customers enrolled on its AC Cycling Thermostat Pilot and Peak Time Savings programme.

Customers need to have a smart meter and a Nest Learning Thermostat or XFINITY Home Thermostat installed to take part in the ComEd programme.

When the utility schedules an Energy Savings Day, customers are offered incentives of up to US$40 to reduce air conditioning during summer's high demand periods.

Between the hours of 1-4pm, the utility will automatically adjust the temperature, but the customer retains control to change the thermostat at any time.