ComEd Chooses GE, Silver Spring Networks for Chicago Smart Grid Program

Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) announced that GE Energy (NYSE: GE) and Silver Spring Networks will be its recommended technology and information partners for the company’s proposed Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) pilot, the first step in Smart Grid deployment.

On June 1, ComEd filed its petition with the Illinois Commerce
Commission (ICC) including its recommendation for the meter and
information technology partners to participate in the company’s
one-year AMI pilot. If approved, approximately 141,000 smart meters
will be deployed in 11 suburban communities and the city of Chicago–the first smart meter project designed to comprehensively assess how
customers will interact with this innovative technology.

ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon
Corporation (NYSE: EXC), one of the nation’s largest electric utilities
with approximately 5.4 million customers. ComEd provides service to
approximately 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70% of the state’s population. 

GE Energy will provide the smart meters. Silver Spring Networks (SSN)
will provide its open standards-based, wireless network communications
Smart Energy Network software and services in support of the project.

Anne Pramaggiore, ComEd’s president and chief operating officer, said, "After a comprehensive review process, we chose to work with industry leaders GE Energy and Silver Spring Networks to build the foundation of northern Illinois’ own smart grid. This intelligent, dynamic electric delivery system will lead to fewer and shorter outages, stronger system infrastructure and the ability to offer real-time data to help customers make informed choices about their electricity use."

Without smart meters, consumers pay a single price for electricity, regardless of when they use it. But electricity is actually more expensive during peak consumption times. GE’s smart meters equipped with SSN technology will enable ComEd to charge less for electricity used during off-peak hours. As a result, consumers can choose to shift energy-intensive activities to times when rates are lower.

The pilot will test customer interaction with a variety of energy management features and technologies, including alternative pricing plans, Web interfaces, in-home displays, home area network control systems and programmable thermostats. It is part of a three-year portfolio of energy efficiency programs developed to reduce energy consumption, peak load and carbon emissions, while saving customers money and positioning Illinois as a national leader in energy efficiency.

ComEd and GE Energy are active members of the Illinois Statewide Smart Grid Collaborative, an organization of government, technology and social factions developing a strategic plan for Smart Grid deployment throughout the state. Illinois was recently named one of "the top ten ‘smartest’ states in 2009" for smart grid leadership by SmartGrid News. As Chicago’s smart grid deployment grows, technology could be showcased in the city’s bid for the 2016 Olympics.

ComEd serves approximately 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois. The company plans to eventually deploy a Smart Grid infrastructure throughout its territory.

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