US utility ComEd has avoided more than 280,000 customer interruptions this winter owing to its smart grid investments.
On average, more than 80% of the 530,000 ComEd customers who lost power during the 2018-2019 winter storms were restored within 24 hours.
In 2018 ComEd customers saw record reliability in the city of Chicago, where the frequency of outages has been reduced by nearly 60% since 2012 when the utility started its investments in smart grid technologies.
The enactment of the Energy Infrastructure Modernisation Act by the Illinois General Assembly mandated the installments of smart grid technologies.
This winter has been challenging, with prolonged periods of subzero temperatures and more ice storms than in recent years.
For instance, the Chicago area experienced 52 straight hours of subzero temperatures, the fourth-longest stretch on record, and several daily records for cold temperatures in more than 20 years.
The investments made by the utility in smart grid include in capabilities such as distribution automation and smart switches which enable the grid network to reroute power around trouble spots.
ComEd has since 2012 avoided more than 11 million customer interruptions and customers have enjoyed 45% fewer power outages on average. This has resulted in more than $2.1 billion in societal savings.
The utility has also managed to keep its residential customer bill steady. In June 2008, the average monthly bill was approximately $85; in January 2019, the average bill was approximately $83.
Joe Dominguez, CEO of ComEd, said: “When we began our grid modernisation work in 2012, we made a promise to bring improved reliability to our customers.
“We kept that promise, setting reliability records while keeping energy bills flat. Our customers have seen the benefits this winter as we continue to bring more improvements to the system.”