By: Business Wire |
ComEd’s annual formula rate update request for distribution or “delivery” of electricity calls for a decrease of $23 million compared to the approved rates in effect in January of this year.
The filing made today with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) marks the eighth formula rate request since the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA) or “Smart Grid Law” was enacted by the Illinois General Assembly in 2011. It authorized investments of $2.6 billion to upgrade and modernize Illinois energy infrastructure, improve system reliability and empower customers to control energy consumption and costs.
Since 2012, ComEd customers have experienced a significant improvement in electric reliability as the frequency and duration of outages has been reduced by nearly 50 percent. From 2012 through 2017, there were more than 7.7 million avoided customer interruptions, including 1.5 million in 2017 due to investments in digital “smart switches” that automatically reroute power around potential problem areas. These avoided outages have resulted in $1.5 billion in societal savings.
While the smart grid investments and other major initiatives have created a total supply chain spend of almost $12 billion since 2011, and significantly improved performance, total ComEd customer bills remain stable. Ten years ago, as new rates took effect in September of 2008, the average residential customer bill was approximately $85; in January of this year it was approximately $86. Today’s filing would decrease the average residential electricity delivery bill by about $0.50, effective in January of next year. ComEd’s per kWh residential rates trend below the average price across the entire U.S., including nearly 14 percent below the top 20 U.S. cities and 19 percent below the top 10 U.S. cities by population as of June 2017.
“Today, we’re filing for a rate decrease – the third since the Smart Grid Law was passed in 2011,” said Anne Pramaggiore, president and CEO, ComEd. “This historic legislation, passed by the Illinois General Assembly, and overseen by the ICC, has been a success since its passage.
“Reliability has improved by nearly 50 percent and more than 4,000 full-time equivalent jobs were created,” she continued. “We’ve pumped nearly $12 billion of supply chain spend into the Illinois economy since 2012 and the average ComEd bill today is roughly equivalent to what it was 10 years ago.”
ComEd’s distribution rate request for 2019 covers actual costs for 2017 when the company completed major grid modernization upgrades focused on reliability improvement. It also includes investments for the current year. The installation of a total of 4 million smart meters is scheduled for completion in October, three years ahead of the original schedule. Also reflected in the filing are expansions for new customer data and distribution centers, continued system reliability programs and new technologies, such as Voltage Optimization, which enables more precise and efficient energy usage while improving power quality.
ComEd also submitted today its 2017 Performance Metrics report, a requirement established by the Smart Grid Law that holds ComEd accountable for meeting key outcomes, or face financial penalties for failure to do so. The report shows ComEd met goals in 10 of 10 categories, including improving system reliability, reducing estimated bills, reducing customer costs associated with unaccounted for energy consumption and theft, and increasing support for minority- and women-owned businesses. In 2017, ComEd’s diversity-certified supplier spend reached $711 million, an increase from 33 to 36 percent of its total supply chain spend.
From Smart Grid to Green Grid
ComEd is building upon the strength of its stronger, more reliable digital grid to move Illinois toward a clean, lean and resilient energy future, providing customers greater access to renewables and more energy efficiency programs and control over their energy costs. The Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) enacted in 2016 jumpstarts renewables in Illinois, setting the stage to grow enough solar and wind energy to power one million homes. It increases energy efficiency programs, creating more than $7 billion in consumer savings and reducing the CO2 equivalent of removing 18 million cars from the road.
ComEd is proceeding with the construction of a microgrid demonstration project in the South Side neighborhood of Bronzeville. The project, which was approved in February by the ICC, has received more than $5 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). It will enable the study of how microgrids support the integration of clean energy onto the grid and increase grid security to keep power flowing even during extreme weather or a catastrophic event. As the electric grid becomes increasingly digital and the demand for renewable power, security and reliability grows, microgrids are expected to serve as a core piece of the electric system’s infrastructure.