CHICAGO, May 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Illinois General Assembly overrode a veto to enact Senate Bill 9, getting the state's Smart Grid program back on track. The law, which takes effect immediately, ensures ComEd can invest in a modern grid that will reduce power outages and give customers more choice and control over their energy use. ComEd's modernization efforts are designed to reduce outages by 700,000 per year, saving customers an estimated $100 million in outage-related costs.
Senate Bill 9 served to clarify existing language in the original Smart Grid law. The Illinois Commerce Commission participated in developing the bill's language and retains its regulatory oversight over ComEd.
"Thanks to the leadership demonstrated by the Illinois General Assembly, ComEd now can get the Smart Grid program back on track and work toward delivering on the full promise of this program to our customers," said Anne Pramaggiore, president and CEO, ComEd. "We are starting immediately to accelerate smart meter installation and other work to improve reliability, provide new ways to save energy and money, and serve as a shot in the arm to our state's economy."
With the law's enactment, ComEd can begin installing smart meters to customers in the fourth quarter of 2013. The installations will continue through 2021. Smart meters provide real-time data to electricity users about how much power they're using, giving customers more control over their energy use. Several businesses plan to open new facilities in Illinois to support the manufacture and installation of the meters, creating hundreds of additional jobs in our state. Already, three companies have set up new offices in Illinois to support the Smart Grid, and the program has created more than 2,700 full-time equivalent jobs.
"This legislation will mean improved and more reliable electric service for Illinois residents, and it will create jobs and spur economic development," said Representative Lou Lang (D-Skokie), chief House sponsor of the legislation. "Now that this bill has become law, electric utilities can proceed with investing millions of dollars into Illinois' economy and create thousands of new jobs."
A wide range of Illinois stakeholders support the Smart Grid, including leading environmental groups, labor unions, chambers of commerce, municipal officials and minority organizations.
"Modernizing the electric grid will put Illinoisans back to work in good-paying jobs," said Michael Carrigan, president, Illinois AFL-CIO. "This law has already employed thousands of workers and provided an economic boost to our manufacturers, suppliers and service companies. Local and out-of-state companies now are ready to expand in Illinois and hire more workers here to participate in the Smart Grid."
"This law will create jobs and help give our communities a competitive advantage in the digital economy for decades to come," said Larry Ivory, president, Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce. "Residents, workers and businesses in our communities will see benefits from the Smart Grid."
Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation's leading competitive energy provider, with approximately 6.6 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state's population.