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posted: 10/1/2012 5:00 AM

Give ComEd ability to move ahead

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The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce was an early and enthusiastic supporter of the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act, because we understand that a modern electricity infrastructure is essential for commerce and our ability to retain and attract businesses.

Chicago area businesses drive our region's economy, providing jobs and opportunity for area residents. The unreliability of today's energy infrastructure negatively impacts our diverse business base, ranging from e-commerce transactions to complex manufacturing processes. Knowing this, the EIMA was passed in October 2011, paving the way for modernization to begin and providing clarity on the rate of return on the utilities' capital investments in the new "smart grid."

Unfortunately, ComEd canceled its plans to install "smart meters" this year as a result of the Illinois Commerce Commission's May 2012 ruling, which reduced ComEd's funding over the first four years of the investment program by $500 million. If the Illinois Commerce Commission does not reverse its May ruling upon rehearing on Wednesday, Oct. 3, ComEd will be forced to postpone implementation of the "smart grid" until 2014 or later.

The Chicago region -- and state of Illinois -- cannot afford to delay any longer. We need electricity reliability. We need fewer and shorter power interruptions. We need exceptional infrastructure to compete in a fierce global economy.

With the Smart Grid Initiative, Illinois utility companies can deliver a modern, digitized electric grid that will benefit businesses and residents alike. We must get the Smart Grid Initiative back on track, which is why the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce encourages the Illinois Commerce Commission to reverse its May 2012 ruling this week.

Mark Segal

Public Policy Committee chair

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce

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