Mt. Prospect to see 'smart' meters by next year

Smart meters are coming to Mount Prospect very soon.

James Dudek, external affairs manager for ComEd's North Region and a Mount Prospect resident, told the village board this week that ComEd's Mount Prospect operating center, which serves surrounding communities as well as the village, will start getting smart meters by the end of 2014 and into 2015.

John Prueitt, ComEd manager for smart meter operations - and another Mount Prospect resident - said smart meters "talk" wirelessly to ComEd through a secure connection.

"So essentially there is no need for a meter reader anymore," he added.

Prueitt said ComEd is anticipating more than $100 million in annual savings - savings, he said, that will be passed along to customers.

Customers will be able to go online and observe their usage, and can sign up for text messages or emails warning them about excessive energy use.

The installation, he said, takes 10 minutes, during which there could be a power outage. Customers, he said, will be notified in advance, including a robocall one week in advance.

The majority of new meters in Mount Prospect will be installed by the second and third quarters of 2015, he said.

ComEd will be using Corix as its installer. The installer, he said, will ask for no money.

"If that happens, let us know, let your police know," Prueitt warned.

Trustee Paul Hoefert asked about initial problems with the smart meters.

Prueitt mentioned a recent series of fires that were investigated and found not to have originated with the smart meters.

Hoefert also asked about shut-offs.

Prueitt confirmed that ComEd will be able to shut off power to delinquent customers through the smart grid, but only after many notices and attempts to work with the customer.

Trustee Steven Polit said smart meters can result in power being restored more quickly.

Prueitt confirmed that one of the advantages is ComEd's ability to quickly connect a new customer or re-connect someone who pays a bill that is in arrears.

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