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Expert: ComEd ‘Smart Grid’ Would Reduce Outage Times

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ComEd Power Yard

A ComEd power yard. (Credit: CBS)

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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.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Lisa Fielding reports


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.

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