CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Summer is just around the corner and ComEd is ready. ComEd’s system investment and continuous projects this year will help ensure safe and reliable service to keep homes and businesses cool during the hot summer months. This work includes substation equipment upgrades, new transmission wire and pole installations, and circuit and equipment inspections.
“Our customers depend on us to provide safe and reliable service every day regardless of the conditions,” said Terence R. Donnelly, executive vice president and COO, ComEd. “The advance work that we have completed will help us keep the lights on for our customers as we move into the summer months.”
In a presentation to the Illinois Commerce Commission, ComEd outlined steps the company is taking to prepare for the summer storm season.
In 2012, ComEd formed a storm task force and has made more than 60 enhancements to its storm restoration process. These enhancements included GPS and mobile dispatch technology to more efficiently manage crews to expedite restoration, a mobile operations center to bring ComEd closer to customers in hardest hit areas, and more efficient management of contractor crews. ComEd is continuing to build on these process improvements, with new areas of focus this year including an enhanced damage assessment process, better coordination of vegetation management crews and improved material staging to ensure readiness during severe weather. Over the past two years, process improvements already in place have resulted in a 30 percent improvement in restoration time.
As part of the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA), or Smart Grid law, ComEd is in the midst of a 10-year, $2.6 billion program to modernize its electrical grid. The program includes $1.3 billion to upgrade and storm harden its electric system by replacing thousands of miles of cable and thousands of poles and upgrading substations and other equipment. The utility will spend another $1.3 billion to digitize the system into a Smart Grid.
The Smart Grid includes installing advanced technology to help reduce customer power interruptions. For example, smart switches (also known as distribution automation devices) route power around potential problem areas, often with no noticeable interruption in service.
Smart grid work has resulted in approximately 500,000 fewer customer power interruptions in 2012 and 2013, saving customers approximately $82 million.
“In 2013, our smart grid investments and process improvements contributed to the best reliability results in ComEd’s history,” said Donnelly. “We are continuing to storm harden and upgrade our system to make sure we provide the best possible service to our customers.”
ComEd reminds customers that higher temperatures can also lead to higher energy bills. ComEd customers can save energy and money this summer by following a few simple tips.
- Turn it off: Turn off all unnecessary lighting and devices.
- Manage your thermostat: Keep thermostats at a constant, comfortable level when at home. Raise the thermostat setting for days of extreme heat to save even more. Install a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust your home's temperature settings when you're away or sleeping.
- Keep shades, blinds and curtains closed: About 40 percent of unwanted heat comes through windows. Simply drawing blinds and curtains, which act as a layer of insulation, can reduce heat gain to your home.
- Use ceiling fans to circulate air: For those without any air conditioning, use ceiling fans or portable fans operating with the windows partially open to circulate fresh air into your home. For those with air conditioning, fans can be used to evenly distribute cool air.
- Use appliances wisely: During summer months, run appliances that produce heat (clothes dryers and dishwashers) at night when it is cooler.
Those in the market for a new central air conditioner should look for ENERGY STAR®-qualified A/C units, which will be at least 15 percent more efficient than conventional models. ComEd offers incentives for the simultaneous installation of qualifying high-efficiency furnace and central air conditioning systems.
For more energy-saving tools, tips and resources, visit ComEd.com/SmartIdeas.
Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with approximately 6.6 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population.