US smart meters: ComEd sets aside US$1bn for meter rollout

US power utility ComEd last week announced it has set aside US$1bn for replacement of traditional electric meters with smart meters in the Lake County region.

ComEd will direct the US$1bn investment towards installation of smart meters in Libertyville, Zion, Winthrop Harbor, Lincolnshire, Lindenhurst, Long Grove, Wildwood and Wauconda, according to local media.

In Libertyville, ComEd said it will begin replacing 10,677 existing meters with smart meters from this April through to 2017.

To date, ComEd has installed 1.9m smart meters and plans to install 4m units in all metering points by the end of 2018.

The development falls under ComEd’s ongoing US$2.6bn worth system upgrade to improve reliability.

Under the utility’s system upgrade program, residential consumers are being charged US$3 per month, with the smart meters accounting for US$2 of that amount, reported Daily Herald.

Comed’s Smart meter benefits

The announcement to replace existing electric meters with the new electric smart meters in ComEd’s territory comes as the utility is already reporting noticeable benefits of smart meters installed in utility’s other service areas.

[quote]In November, 2015, ComEd announced that it has saved customers that are enrolled in its Peak Time Savings programme, approximately US$400,000 on their electric bills.

ComEd’s Peak Time Savings is a smart-meter enabled programme that rewards customers with credits to their electric bills for lowering electricity usage during peak demand periods.

The programme allowed customers to earn a US$1 credit on their electric bills for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity they voluntarily reduce during Peak Time Savings Hours.

Commenting in regard to the aim of the programme, Val Jensen, senior vice president of Customer Operations at ComEd said: “This is another program that leverages the smart meter technology so our customers can reap the value of the investments made to modernize our electrical system.”

In addition to the US$1 consumers earn, ComEd announced the five winners of the Peak Time Savings Smart Appliance who received one smart appliance provided by the utility.

Mr Jensen added ComEd would like to see consumers utilise smart appliances as they allow savings in bills, by offering greater options on energy use, know when electricity prices are cheaper, or reductions are being requested.

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.