As part of its 10-year, $2.6 billion grid modernization program, ComEd began installation of more than 4 million smart meters throughout its service territory.
The first smart meters to be deployed will be in the Western suburbs, beginning in North Riverside. ComEd expects to install 60,000 smart meters by the end of 2013. The full deployment will be complete in 2021.
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A smart meter is a digital electric meter that uses two-way radio communications to collect usage information and securely transmit it to ComEd through a wireless connection.
Smart meters provide customers with access to more information about energy use through online energy-management tools that can help customers manage their electric bills. Additionally, because smart meters automatically send meter readings to ComEd, they also help eliminate estimated bills and reduce operating costs that become savings on customers' electric bills.
"Smart meters will deliver the benefits of the smart grid directly to customers' homes and businesses," said Val Jensen, senior vice president, customer operations, for ComEd. "Customers will be able to take greater control of their energy use to become more energy efficient. When fully functional, smart meters will also alert ComEd to power outages automatically and help pinpoint the source of problems, allowing us to restore outages faster."
Just like standard meters, smart meters will measure the amount of electricity a customer uses, not how it is used. To ensure customer privacy, ComEd uses state-of-the-art cryptographic technologies, similar to those used by global financial institutions and the U.S. Department of Defense, to protect against unauthorized access to customer personal information.
"The safety and security of our customers and their data is paramount," said Jensen.
Prior to installation, customers will receive a letter from ComEd with details on when their installation will take place. Installation of smart meters takes about 10 minutes.