GE has been chosen by ComEd to supply Chicago with 4 million smart meters between now and 2021 in a deal that is worth more than $200 million. ComEd is the electricity utility of Northern Illinois and is part of Exelon.
In accordance with the 2011 Smart Grid Law in Illinois, ComEd committed to invest more than $2.6 billion over 10 years to modernize its electric grid in Northern Illinois. Out of this, more than $1.3 billion has been earmarked to build a smart grid network and install smart meters in 4 million homes and businesses.
The smart meters will allow ComEd’s customers to better manage their energy usage and help ComEd detect and restore power outages quickly.
In related news, Silver Spring Networks and ComEd launched a comprehensive smart grid deployment to help with the modernization of Northern Illinois’ grid infrastructure over the next 10 years. Silicon Valley-based Silver Spring’s standards-based networking platform and smart grid applications will connect 4 million homes and businesses across ComEd’s service territory and will enable improved outage management, increased energy efficiency, improved grid reliability, and greater empowerment for consumers.
Silver Spring also announced it will be opening a downtown Chicago office to support the roll-out of ComEd’s smart grid infrastructure modernization program and will be building a next-generation network operations center to support smart grid programs in Illinois and across the greater Midwest.
In May, ComEd submitted a progress report to the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) showing the installation of 470 Distribution Automation devices in the Chicago area in the first year of the smart grid program. The current schedule calls for ComEd to begin installing smart meters in 2015. However, the General Assembly passed legislation in April that would accelerate installation to begin later this year, which is why GE will begin supplying the smart meters from this year.