ComEd installs 1 million smart meters
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ComEd installs 1 million smart meters
Illinois smart meters: ComEd expects to deploy four million units by 2018

US energy company Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) has deployed a quarter of its smart electric meter rollout by installing its millionth unit within its service territory.

The Chicago-based utility expects to complete the full rollout of four million meters by 2018, three years ahead of its stated schedule.

ComEd said in a statement that it has reported on performance metrics for smart meters to the Illinois Commerce Commission for the first time.

The company said it had surpassed its 2014 targets in several categories including reduction of estimated bills, uncollected expenses and consumption on inactive meters.

The positive performance results help to lower operational costs, which are passed directly to customers as rate savings, the energy company said in a statement.

ComEd had insisted on waiting until it had a full year's worth of smart meter data before giving feedback.

The annual metrics are subject to approval by the Illinois Commerce Commission and include a requirement that ComEd eliminate estimated billing by 90%, eliminate consumption by inactive meters by 90%, eliminate energy theft by 50% and reduce bad debt and unpaid bills by US$30 million.

Smart grid Illinois

The rollout is part of a smart grid initiative led by ComEd, which is advocating for legislation in Springfield, the capital of Illinois, to even more fully leverage the capabilities of the smart grid.

The legislation - ComEd’s Future Energy Plan, Senate Bill 1879 - aims to expand access to renewable energy, increase energy efficiency, enhance resiliency and security of the system and meet the growing demand among energy consumers for more choice and personalized services.

Michael McMahan, vice president of Automated Metering Infrastructure Implementation for ComEd, said: “The advanced technology we are putting into place is creating a platform by which new innovation can be brought to the grid and create greater value for our customers.

“We’re committed to enabling our customers to take full advantage of the new technologies, transforming the way electricity is distributed and used by our customers.”

ComEd estimates that investments in smart grid technology have helped to avoid more than 3.3 million customer interruptions since 2012, including 1.2 million in 2014 due largely to increased investments in distribution automation that automatically route power around potential problem areas.

Meanwhile, outage avoidance has saved customers an estimated $175 million.

ComEd has spent about US$784 million on a 10-year $2.6 billion ComEd program, according to a filing with regulators.