Expert: ComEd ‘Smart Grid’ Would Reduce Outage Times

CHICAGO (WBBM) — Could a “smart grid” have helped get ComEd customers’ power back online faster? One expert says yes.

“The utility infrastructure is aging. We as an industry are faced with modernizing the grid and at some point we need to reinvest in the infrastructure,” said Wanda Reder, spokeswoman for The Power & Energy Society.

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ComEd has lobbied hard for a “smart grid” measure which would jolt the state’s electric distribution network into the 21st century.

The basic concept of Smart Grid is to add monitoring, analysis, control, and communication capabilities to the national electrical delivery system to maximize the throughput of the system while reducing the energy consumption.

The Smart Grid will allow utilities to move electricity around the system as efficiency and economically as possible. It will also allow the homeowner and business to use electricity as economically as possible.

“It would speed up the restoration process because it would be automated and the utility would automatically know of an outage,” added Reder.

Environmental groups have embraced the measure. Consumer advocates have condemned parts of it as a ploy to boost profit. Gov. Pat Quinn has vowed to veto it.

The Energy Infrastructure modernization Act made it through the General Assembly but Governor Pat Quinn has pledged to veto the plan, which ComEd still believes is the best option for future power reliability in the Chicago area.

The bill’s supporters, including 60 local mayors, several key economic development groups and chambers of commerce, environmental groups like the Sierra Club, and labor organizations, have all agreed to support modernization. That’s why the bill passed the General Assembly this May, and why Gov. Pat Quinn should sign it.

  • nancy

    Then ComEd should pay for it…………not the citizens who use their product. Tell the CEO and other high officials at ComEd to refuse their mult-million dollar bonuses and take care of the problem. This has been going on for years and all they have done is drag their feet and then go to the ICC and say we have to have money for the SmartGrid…….

  • JK-jeffpark

    I agree with Nancy! Those high paid execs will garner no sympathy from millions of IL residents who are really having a hard time right now. Comed could also raise money through stock issuance if it needed it that bad which would eliminate the need for a rate hike.

  • Bill T.

    I guess Quinn figures this isn’t as important as an airport out in the middle of nowhere. Idiot !

  • Scott

    There is absolutely no evidence that “smart grid” make a significant difference in restoration in the event of major outages. There are operational savings, reducing truck rolls for premise visits only to find that power problem is not the utility, but the customer, etc.

    But here is no evidence that restoration time would be significantly faster and the only estimate that has been done, for the state of illinois no less, is a 5% improvement!!!

    When the tree is down, the restoration is not helped by “smart grid”, but by workers on the ground!

  • jack

    Really Wanda – you are sure that mother nature doesn’t have a chance against the smart grid – are you 100 % – 1000% sure – WHATEVER

    If mother nature decides to kick some butt with a powerful storm that takes down trees, power lines, utility poles, houses, etc – is getting power back fast really going to happen


    Upgrade the electrical power delivery system – but don’t bankrupt the customers

  • Lyndia

    Scott you apparently work for com ed. I do not care if they get a smart grid or not but what I do know is when there is a power outage people are placed in dangerous positions. My lights were out for a day however, my light bill NEVER reflect that. I have gone without light for as long a 3 days. Never is their any communication from the light company only a recorded message. It does not have to be a storm for the lights to go out. They go out on gp, when ever they get ready. I BELIEVE THE INFRASTRUCTURE IS OLD AND IT NEEDS TO BE UPDATED AND IF IF INVOLVES THEGRID THING, DO IT. I AM TRIED OF COM ED .

  • Simple Solution

    Umm, how about the idea of burying the cables, like so many other cities do? Then, Mother Nature could dish it out, but we wouldn’t be suffering through weather-related power outages!

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