demand response
Image credit: Stock

Now that summer temperatures are here in northern Illinois, we ready to maintain strong reliability thanks to smart grid investments that have cut the number of customer outages by roughly half, according to a statement issued by US utility ComEd.

The utility’s energy efficiency programmes give customers the power to stay cool while controlling their energy usage.

Terry Donnelly, COO at ComEd, said: “We’re well prepared for this summer.

 “We’re focused on the right things to keep energy safe, reliable and affordable for Chicago-area families and businesses this summer and well into the future.”

In 2018, ComEd reduced consumer power outages by 45% since the company started its smart grid investments in 2012.

Customers saw record reliability last year in the city of Chicago, where overall reliability improved 70%. Since 2012, ComEd has avoided more than 11 million customer interruptions due in part to smart grid and system improvements. These include distribution automation or digital “smart switches” that automatically reroute power around potential problem areas. The avoided outages have resulted in $2.1 billion in societal savings.

“We are committed to providing safe and reliable service to our customers every day, and the work we have completed to upgrade the energy grid will help us continue to meet that commitment,” added Donnelly. “We’ve taken numerous actions to minimize the number of outages customers experience this summer and to ensure that we restore service as quickly and safely as possible when outages do occur.”

In addition, ComEd offers programs that incent customers to reduce energy use on days of peak demand. More than 301,000 customers are enrolled in ComEd’s Peak Time Savings programme, providing 36 megawatts of demand response. The program saved these customers $3.2 million in 2018, and a total of $5.6 million since the program launched in summer 2015. In addition, 97,000 customers are enrolled in ComEd’s Central Air Conditioning Cycling program, which has the potential to reduce demand by 97 megawatts.

ComEd customers have saved a total of $4 billion on their electricity bills since the company introduced its programme to help families and businesses save money and energy in 2008. That's the equivalent of approximately $1,000 for each of ComEd's 4 million customers.