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ComEd hopes SB 9 will get smart grid funding back on track

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The Illinois Senate Executive Committee last week passed Senate Bill 9 (SB 9), which clarifies existing language in the 2011 Smart Grid law, out of committee by a vote of 14 to 0.

"We commend Senate President Cullerton for making jobs and grid modernization for the 21st century a key priority and moving this legislation early in the new session," said Anne Pramaggiore, ComEd president and CEO. "ComEd is proceeding with a portion of the core grid modernization programs, while postponing the deployment of the remainder and all smart meters until 2015. SB 9 would allow us to get the Smart Grid program -- and the related job creation --back on track."

Under the Smart Grid law, last year alone ComEd invested $165 million in grid modernization, created more than 700 jobs, built a new, state-of-the-art training center in Rockford, and enhanced storm-hardening. The utility also installed more than 470 smart switches, devices that re-route power in the event of a fault, avoiding 82,000 customer outages in 2012. Ultimately, ComEd's modernization efforts are designed to reduce outages by 700,000 per year, saving customers an estimated $100 million in outage-related costs.

The passage of SB 9 would help to restore ComEd's funding to nearly the level it would have been if the Smart Grid law had been implemented as passed while having negligible impact on customers' bills in 2013. The passage would increase the average residential customer bill of $82 per month by approximately 40 cents per month in 2014 up to approximately 80 cents per month in 2017.

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