GE (NYSE: GE) has been selected by ComEd, a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC) and the electric utility serving Northern Illinois, to deliver approximately 4 million smart meters from 2013 to 2021 in a smart grid development deal worth more than $200 million (U.S.). The smart meters will allow ComEd’s customers to better manage their energy usage and help ComEd more quickly detect and restore power outages.
“Deploying smart meters will not only strengthen economic growth, create jobs and modernize our electric grid, but empower our customers to take more control over their energy usage,” said Anne Pramaggiore, president and CEO, ComEd. “Working side by side with GE, we are able to create a modernized grid that will improve reliability, provide new ways to save energy and money and benefit the Illinois economy.”
By deploying advanced meters across its service territory, along with other components of its grid modernization initiative, ComEd expects to transform the delivery of electricity to homes and businesses and give consumers greater control over their energy consumption and costs.
Under Illinois’ 2011 Smart Grid Law, ComEd committed to invest more than $2.6 billion over 10 years to modernize its electric grid in Northern Illinois—more than $1.3 billion of which is earmarked to build a smart grid network and install smart meters in 4 million homes and businesses.
“The Illinois Smart Grid program will provide ComEd's customers with the benefits of a modern grid and help GE grow its local workforce in Chicago,” said Mark Hura, general manager of sales in North America, GE’s Digital Energy business. “This program allows us to be local with our customer by adding positions focused on the assembly of smart meters, a technology that offers a range of benefits to consumers such as shortened restoration time in the event of an outage. ComEd is a valued customer to GE, as demonstrated by our long-standing relationship and our recent successful smart meter pilot program. We look forward to working with ComEd to make grid modernization a reality in Chicago and all of ComEd's service territory."
GE’s meters will help to enable effective two-way communication between ComEd and its customers. For example, ComEd’s smart meters will provide customers with hourly data on theirenergy usage. Smart meters also will alert ComEd to power outages automatically—without requiring customers to contact the utility—and help pinpoint the problem so ComEd can restore power faster.
GE will assemble the meters in Chicago and expects to create approximately 50 jobs as the project ramps up—a process GE is familiar with, given prior successes in localizing assembly for large-scale meter deployments with utilities such as Florida Power & Light.
GE’s Digital Energy business is a global leader in transmission and distribution solutions that manage and move power from the power plant to the consumer. Its products and services increase the reliability of electrical power networks and critical equipment for utility, industrial and large commercial customers.