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Chicago-based utility Commonwealth Edison Co. (ComEd) is seeking to accelerate the timetable for installing smart meters and intends to file a request with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC).

ComEd says it was directed by the ICC to pursue a path to complete the installation of more than four million smart meters by 2018 rather than 2021. If the utility's proposal is approved, ComEd reports that the accelerated program would begin in this year, increasing the number of smart meters installed in 2014 from 160,000 to 500,000.

According to ComEd, among the first group of customers to see increased deployment of smart meters will be residents on the South Side of Chicago. Under ComEd's proposal, these customers will have more than 260,000 smart meters installed this year, and the entire area will be completed in 2015 - approximately six months sooner than in the original plan.

The utility adds that it is launching an initiative to identify and partner with third parties offering new products and services that can work with the smart grid. ComEd says the initiative will develop a process that helps make it simple for customers to identify and find new products that will work with its smart meter system.

"Accelerating our installation timetable and tapping the growing market of smart energy products and services mean customers will more rapidly see the return on their investment in the smart grid," comments Val Jensen, senior vice president of customer operations at ComEd.

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