Chicago, ComEd
In 2019 customers also saw record reliability in the city of Chicago, where overall reliability has improved 80% since 2012. Image credit: Wikimedia

Smart grid and system improvements helped prevent more than 13 million outages since 2012 for ComEd customers.

With thunderstorms, a polar vortex and a 133-degree temperature swing between high and low temperatures, Chicago-area weather in 2019 was challenging. Yet, thanks to smart grid investments and the work of ComEd’s 6,000 people, customers enjoyed the best-ever electric reliability.

Families and businesses across northern Illinois experienced record-low frequency and duration of outages and overall reliability that improved more than 70% since 2012, when the company began investing in a smart grid. Since then, ComEd has reduced the average frequency of outages by 47% and the average duration by 52%.

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In 2019 customers also saw record reliability in the city of Chicago, where overall reliability has improved 80% since 2012.

“From greater reliability and customer options to job creation and growing businesses, our smart grid investments are delivering great value for our customers and state,” said Joe Dominguez, CEO of ComEd. “ComEd leads the nation in the delivery of clean and renewable power, with 92% of the energy provided to families and businesses coming from power sources that do not produce air pollution. With continued smart grid investments to efficiently integrate solar power and to improve reliability, we are poised to help our customers and our communities reduce local air pollution through electric transportation and other processes while producing billions of dollars in savings.”

Illinois has made significant progress toward reducing harmful air pollution and already has met 85% of the Paris Accord climate action targets.

Since 2012, ComEd customers have been spared more than 13 million service interruptions due in part to smart grid and system improvements, including distribution automation or digital “smart switches” that automatically reroute power around potential problem areas. The avoided outages have resulted in $2.4 billion in societal savings.

“ComEd employees, from line workers to engineers to customer service reps, have made it their mission to improve service for the people who depend on us. The investments we’re making and partnerships we’ve established have laid a strong foundation for the future and are meeting our customers’ evolving needs,” said Terry Donnelly, ComEd president and chief operating officer.

All of these reliability improvements have come while monthly bills remained flat. The average monthly bill for a residential customer is under $83. In 2012, the average monthly bill was $84 per month. If ComEd were a state, its electricity cost as a per cent of median household income would be lower than anywhere but Utah. At 1.4%, the percentage of household income that the average ComEd bill represents compares to a U.S. average of 2.3%.

In addition to producing record customer satisfaction levels, strong power reliability and Illinois’ competitive electricity supply market help attract businesses to ComEd’s northern Illinois service territory. Last year, the GridWise Alliance recognized Illinois as the No. 2 state in the nation for grid modernization.

“ComEd's track record of providing strong reliability along with Illinois’ competitive energy prices are important components of a thriving regional economy,” said Jack Lavin, president and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. “We are pleased to see year-over-year improvements in the performance of a critical piece of Chicago and northern Illinois’ infrastructure.”