ComEd kicks off smart meter installations

Commonwealth Edison Co. (ComEd) began installation of more than 4 million smart meters throughout its service territory. The first smart meters to be deployed will be in the western suburbs, starting in North Riverside, Illinois.

The smart meter installation is a part of ComEd's 10-year, $2.6 billion grid modernization program. The full deployment will be complete in 2021. ComEd expects to install 60,000 smart meters by the end of 2013.

A smart meter is a digital electric meter that uses two-way radio communications to collect usage information and securely transmit it to ComEd through a wireless connection.

Smart meters provide customers with access to more information about energy use through online energy-management tools that can help customers manage their electric bills.

Additionally, because smart meters automatically send meter readings to ComEd, they also help eliminate estimated bills and reduce operating costs that become savings on customers' electric bills, according to ComEd.

Just like standard meters, smart meters will measure the amount of electricity a customer uses, not how it is used. To ensure customer privacy, ComEd uses cryptographic technologies, similar to those used by global financial institutions and the U.S. Department of Defense, to protect against unauthorized access to customer personal information.

Prior to installation, customers will receive a letter from ComEd with details on when their installation will take place. Installation of smart meters takes about 10 minutes, according to ComEd.

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