US utility Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) has secured permission from the state regulator to speed up its smart meter installation plans by three years in a move to deliver customer benefits “sooner than originally expected”, the energy company claims.

The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) has approved a filing to install more than 4 million smart meters throughout ComEd’s service area by 2018, ahead of its original completion deadline of 2012, resulting in customer savings of $170 million, ComEd estimates.

To date, nearly 300,000 smart meters have been installed in the Chicago area.

Mike McMahan, vice president of Advanced Metering Infrastructure Implementation at ComEd, said: “We are pleased that the ICC has approved the accelerated timetable.

“This means that more customers will realise smart meter benefits much sooner than originally expected.

“By the end of 2014, ComEd will have installed more than 500,000 smart meters for the year and 700,000 in total, providing customers with more reliable service and better control over their electrical use.”

ComEd is offering smart meter customers new tools to manage their electricity consumption and programmes such as Peak Time Savings, which will reward customers for reducing their energy use during peak usage times.

Val Jensen, senior vice president of Customer Operations, at ComEd, said: “The new smart meters are at the heart of what we believe will become the electricity network of the future.

“They will provide the intelligence our customers need to make smart energy choices. Along with the meter deployment, we’re working hard to bring our customers new products and services that will increase the value they can get from this network.”

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