System improvements help avoid more than 280,000 outages during winter storms
In a winter that has seemed to last forever, ComEd’s smart grid improvements have ensured that fewer people felt Mother Nature’s effects. New technologies, like distribution automation, or “smart switches,” that reroute power around trouble spots helped avoid more than 280,000 customer interruptions for families and businesses during storms this season.
This winter has been especially challenging, with prolonged periods of subzero temperatures and more ice storms than in recent years. During the polar vortex, the Chicago area experienced 52 straight hours of subzero temperatures, the fourth-longest stretch on record, and several daily records for cold temperatures. The post-Thanksgiving storm brought a combination of ice, high winds and sustained below-freezing temperatures not seen in the Chicago area in more than 20 years. On average, more than 80 percent of the 530,000 ComEd customers who lost power during these winter storms were restored within 24 hours.
“When we began our grid modernization work in 2012, we made a promise to bring improved reliability to our customers,” said Joe Dominguez, CEO of ComEd. “We kept that promise, setting reliability records while keeping energy bills flat. Our customers have seen the benefits this winter as we continue to bring more improvements to the system.”
ComEd started its smart grid investments following the passage of the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act by the Illinois General Assembly in 2012. Since then, customers have enjoyed 45 percent fewer power outages on average. During that time, the company has avoided more than 11 million individual customer interruptions, due in part to smart grid and system improvements. The avoided outages have resulted in $2.1 billion in societal savings. Additionally, in 2018 customers saw record reliability in the city of Chicago, where the frequency of outages has been reduced by nearly 60 percent since 2012.
In the last 10 years, the average ComEd residential customer bill has remained steady. In June 2008, the average monthly bill was approximately $85; in January 2019, the average bill was approximately $83.
ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (EXC), a Fortune 100 energy company with approximately 10 million electricity and natural gas customers – the largest number of customers in the U.S. ComEd powers the lives of more than 4 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.