ComEd Files Annual Rate Update under New Grid Modernization Law
Investments ushering in new era of customer value
30 Apr, 2012, 06:07 ET
CHICAGO, April 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- ComEd today filed an update with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) to reflect new investments under the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA). ComEd has begun the work of strengthening and modernizing the electric grid to transform the delivery of electricity to customers throughout northern Illinois. If approved, the update would raise the average customer bill by about 97 cents per month over today's rates, starting in 2013. Before that, rates are expected to decline in June through the end of 2012, based on an earlier filing.
The EIMA authorizes a 10-year, $2.6 billion ComEd investment program to drive value to customers through a stronger electric system with fewer outages, faster restoration and the deployment of new digital "smart" technologies that improve customers' experience with more information, more power to control their electric bills and more ways to save money.
"Today's filing is another important milestone achieved in the transformation of Illinois' electric system that was envisioned by the grid modernization law," said Anne Pramaggiore, ComEd president and CEO. "This new annual update process paves the way for long-term investments in the system that will deliver tremendous value and benefits to our customers while minimizing the impact on rates. A series of strict accountability standards outlined in the legislation ensures that ComEd delivers this customer value."
In January, ComEd began the work of modernizing the grid and is proceeding on schedule. 2012 investments include $139 million to improve reliability for customers and $94 million in smart grid investments. Significant efforts are focused on storm hardening to further reduce the susceptibility of storm-related damage to power lines. The 2012 reliability investments also include the inspection and any necessary treatment of approximately 133,000 utility poles,
The 2012 work underway also involves adding new technology to the system such as devices that will automatically re-route power around a problem, often with no noticeable interruption in service. Just last week, ComEd filed plans with the ICC to install 130,000 smart meters in 2012, beginning in the fall.
Next month, the ICC is expected to approve reduced rates, from June through December 2012, based on ComEd's first filing under the modernization law, which calculated a lower utility profit than ComEd was previously entitled to receive. The proposed 2013 rate increase would mean an overall increase in customer bills of just one percent since the ICC last set rates under the old law. Such an increase is lower than the rate of inflation.
Today's filing is the latest in a series of regulatory milestones ComEd has achieved under the legislation. They include:
- AMI (Smart Meter) Deployment Plan – On April 23, ComEd filed its Advanced Meter Infrastructure Deployment Plan, outlining how, when, and where ComEd will install smart meters and related technology in four million homes and small businesses, saving customers more than $1 billion. The Commission will issue a ruling on the plan by June 22.
- Infrastructure Investment Plan – On Jan. 6, ComEd filed its plan to invest $2.6 billion over a 10-year period, providing details of the scope, schedule, and staffing behind that effort.
- Performance Metrics Plan – On Dec. 8, 2011, ComEd filed its Performance Metrics Plan, which highlights multiple performance measures the company will meet over a 10-year period. The ICC approved this plan on April 4.
ComEd also is taking action to help customers during this sluggish economy through programs funded by ComEd.
"We realize that any increase may impact customers who are struggling to manage their household expenses," said Pramaggiore. "The $50 million assistance fund established under EIMA will provide programs for aid to senior citizens, low-income residents, active members of the armed services and reserve forces and disabled veterans."
Information regarding current assistance programs is available at ComEd.com or by calling 1-888-806-2273.
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.
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