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Following a long delay, ComEd's smart meter installation program is back on track. The Chicago-based utility announced on Tuesday it has begun the installation of more than 4 million smart meters throughout its service territory.

The first meters to be deployed will be in the western suburbs, beginning in North Riverside, Ill. ComEd expects to install 60,000 smart meters by year-end. The full deployment - part of the utility's 10-year, $2.6 billion grid modernization program - will be complete in 2021.

"Smart meters will deliver the benefits of the smart grid directly to customers' homes and businesses," comments Val Jensen, senior vice president of customer operations for ComEd. "Customers will be able to take greater control of their energy use to become more energy efficient. When fully functional, smart meters will also alert ComEd to power outages automatically and help pinpoint the source of problems, allowing us to restore outages faster."

The utility notes it is keeping its customers informed: 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.

In October 2012, ComEd had announced it was postponing smart meter installations until 2015 after the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) denied the utility certain cost-recovery funds. The utility's smart grid program is mandated under the state's Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act of 2011, and ComEd argued the ICC decision was inconsistent with the law.

Earlier this year, the Illinois Senate and House passed S.B.9, a measure that, among other things, enables ComEd to recoup its costs. Even though Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed the bill, both chambers of the state Congress overrode the governor and S.B.9 became law in May. ComEd announced it planned to resume smart meter installations beginning in the fourth quarter.




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