Smart meters coming to Arlington Heights
Some Arlington Heights residents will start seeing smart meters by the end of the year.
Jim Dudek, ComEd external affairs manager, told the village board Monday about the electric company's plans to start installing the higher-tech meters for thousands of Arlington Heights residents in December. All Arlington Heights residents will have the new meters by October 2015, Dudek said.
"We are excited to start deploying these smart meters in your community very soon," Dudek said.
The smart meters will transmit usage information to ComEd six times a day and allow residents to look at their usage as soon as the next day and break it down into half-hour increments, said Mike McMahan, ComEd's vice president of advanced metering infrastructure implementation.
"This is important for customers because it means we don't have to go into people's backyards anymore. We don't have to go into people's homes anymore," McMahan said.
It will also allow customers to check their statistics online and alter their behavior to save money.
"You can have some significant savings based on real-time pricing," McMahan said.
The new meters also will be more accurate, officials said, eliminating estimated bills.
McMahan said residents will be notified several times before the installation. The switch-over may create a loss of power for about 5 minutes, but only in older homes, he said.
In the future, smart meters will also help ComEd respond more quickly and thoroughly to outages by automatically creating a help ticket when the meters register an outage.
"That's a pretty powerful feature," McMahan said. "Technically you won't have to call it in, but we still ask that you do."
Officials acknowledged that there are some people who don't want to upgrade to smart meters for privacy or health concerns, but they said that is less than 1 percent of all customers.
Although the meters transmit six times a day, the radio frequency is on for less than 5 minutes a day, they said.
"This sounds like a great program," Trustee Jim Tinaglia said.