ComEd Smart Grid and System Upgrades Improve Reliability and Help to Prepare for Winter Weather

Improvements ensure power reliability and offer customers more ways to manage their electric bills

CHICAGO--()--While fall temperatures have been mild, winter weather is just around the corner. Today ComEd announced that investments to strengthen and modernize its electrical delivery system are helping to improve power reliability and ensuring that the utility is ready to serve its customers this winter.

“The work done by ComEd to modernize and storm harden the electrical grid has contributed to record-breaking reliability over the last two years,” said Terence R. Donnelly, executive vice-president and chief operating officer for ComEd. “As we approach the winter and the potential for heavy snow and ice, this work will help ensure that our customers have reliable energy to meet their needs.”

With the passage of the Smart Grid law by the Illinois General Assembly in 2011, ComEd embarked on a $2.6 billion program to modernize the power system in northern Illinois. Through investments in smart switches that reroute power around potential problem areas, new storm hardening and vegetation management solutions, and cable replacement, as well as other system improvement programs, more than 5.6 million customer interruptions have been avoided since 2012. Last year alone, more than 1.5 million interruptions did not occur due to the reliability improvements ComEd is making to its system. In fact, despite severe weather conditions, including several tornadoes earlier this year, ComEd has produced record reliability for the first half of 2015. Due to system improvements, more than 1.6 million customer interruptions have been avoided so far this year.

ComEd’s proposed legislation, known as ComEd’s Future Energy Plan, builds on the benefits of the smart grid through, among other improvements, the development of six microgrids which will provide additional resiliency and reliability in the face of extreme weather or man-made events. The plan also calls for expanded support for renewable energy in Illinois and ensures that energy consumers and the state economy will continue to benefit from affordable power, a more secure and resilient grid.

“We are continuing to explore opportunities to bring new technology to the grid that will improve reliability,” said Donnelly. “Our Future Energy Plan delivers value to our customers through clean energy, energy savings, grid resiliency and customer choice.”

ComEd also offers the following no costs/low costs tips to help customers safely prepare their homes for winter weather, manage their energy usage and reduce electricity costs.

  • Set your thermostat up to 10 degrees lower during the winter, when you leave your home and before going to sleep. You could save up to 15 percent a year on heating and cooling costs.
  • Check your HVAC filter every month. If the filter looks dirty after a month, change it. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm thus wasting energy.
  • Replace incandescent holiday lights with LEDs (lighting emitting diode). LEDs typically consume about 75% less energy and can last up to 10 times longer. They’re also more durable, shock-resistant and generate less heat compared to traditional incandescent light strands.
  • Inspect the caulking and weather-stripping around all windows, doors and openings for utility services, replacing as necessary. Also, check ducts that move air to-and-from a forced air furnace, central air conditioner, or heat pump, which are often big energy wasters.
  • Take advantage of the home energy savings available through the ComEd Smart Ideas® Energy Efficiency Program. Get a free home energy assessment; receive rebates on weatherization and AC replacements, and save instantly with in-store discounts on CFLs, LEDs and more.

To help customers in need, ComEd distributed $10 million in financial assistance this year and has dedicated an additional $10 million for distribution starting January 2016. Customers can visit the nearest satellite site, CEDA (Cook County) or LIHEAP (Suburbs) agency to apply for assistance. For a list of social service agencies accepting applications, please call CEDA at (800) 571-2332 or LIHEAP at (877) 411-9276 or visit ComEd.com.

Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with approximately 7.8 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit ComEd.com, and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Contacts

ComEd Media Relations
312-394-3500

Contacts

ComEd Media Relations
312-394-3500