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ComEd’s Delivery System Ready for Summer Season

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Summer is just around the corner and ComEd’s workforce and systems are ready for the demands of the warmer temperatures ahead. Through its smart grid program and storm- hardening project, ComEd has continued to invest in upgrading its delivery system and improving its safety and reliability. This work includes upgrading substation equipment, installing new transmission wires, poles and smart meters, and inspecting circuits and equipment.

In its annual summer readiness presentation to the Illinois Commerce Commission, ComEd noted the benefits of its investments in smart grid and smart meter technology, in addition to ongoing storm-hardening work, which have reduced the frequency and duration of power outages. In addition, ComEd’s storm restoration has improved by 30 percent since 2011.

“We are committed to providing safe and reliable service to our customers every day, and the work we have completed on our delivery system will help us continue to meet that commitment,” said Terence R. Donnelly, executive vice president and COO. “ComEd’s infrastructure investments continue to deliver real and notable service improvements to customers by providing one of the best reliability performance years on record achieving a 99.96% reliability rate in 2014.”

As part of the its summer preparedness program, the company also conducts emergency response drills that include employees from all areas, testing of computer and emergency systems and reviewing emergency and storm processes and procedures.

Additionally, the utility is engaged with other utilities, state agencies and companies to share best practices for storm response. On May 21 and 22, ComEd and the Edison Electric Institute will co-host an annual storm symposium with leaders from 15 utilities from around the country discussing best practices. On June 19, ComEd will host its second statewide emergency drill with utilities, state agencies and companies working together to understand how to get critical services back following a major weather disaster.

As part of the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA), or Smart Grid law, ComEd is in the midst of a $2.6 billion program to modernize its electrical grid. The program includes $1.3 billion to upgrade and storm harden its electric system by replacing thousands of miles of cable and thousands of poles, as well as upgrading substations and other equipment. The utility will spend another $1.3 billion to digitize the system into a smart grid.

The smart grid includes installing advanced technology to help reduce customer power interruptions. For example, smart switches (also known as distribution automation devices) route power around potential problem areas, often with no noticeable interruption in service.

The investments have, and will continue to, enhance reliability and serve as an asset to businesses that value a modern, digital-based smart grid. In addition to helping to avoid millions of customer interruptions, smart grid work has provided economic benefits to the state by supporting the creation of 3,600 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in Illinois, including approximately 1,400 FTE jobs at the utility and its contractors.

To help our customers better manage their electric bills, this year ComEd introduced Peak Time Savings. Customers with smart meters can voluntarily reduce their electricity use during Peak Time Savings Hours by managing electricity use, such as saving laundry for off-peak times, turning up the A/C a few degrees, or turning off lights when leaving a room. Customers can earn a $1 credit on their electric bills for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity reduced during Peak Time Savings Hours. ComEd will announce Peak Time Savings Hours on days when electricity is most in demand. Peak Time Savings Hours will typically occur for a few hours between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. on three to five days during the summer.

ComEd reminds customers that higher temperatures can also lead to higher energy bills. ComEd customers can save energy and money this summer by following a few simple tips.

  • Turn Off Your Lights: Turn off your lights when you leave a room. Turning off just one 60-watt incandescent bulb that would otherwise burn eight hours a day can save you up to $23 per year.
  • Add 10 Degrees: Turn your thermostat up 10 degrees higher during the summer when you leave your home and before going to sleep. You could save up to 15% a year on cooling costs.
  • Close Your Blinds in the Summer: Cooling your home in the summer takes a lot of energy. You can help keep your home cool by limiting the amount of sunlight that enters by shutting the blinds during the day. If you close your blinds when the sun is up to prevent heat from entering your home, you can lower your cooling bills this summer.
  • Use a Ceiling Fan: This summer, instead of blasting the air conditioner (and blowing your electric bills through the roof), use a ceiling fan to keep cool. Using a ceiling fan may allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4 degrees without impacting your comfort.
  • Adjust Your Water Heater: Set the temperature of your water heater to 120^0F. Every 10 degrees you reduce your hot water temperature saves you, on average, 3% to 5% in energy costs.

For more energy-saving tools, tips and resources, visit ComEd.com/homesavings

Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC) , the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with approximately 7.8 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit ComEd.com, and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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