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Illinois-based utility ComEd has completed digital upgrades to the Wallace Substation on the south side of Chicago and activated the facility as a part of its grid modernization program.

Located in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood, the substation uses state-of-the-art technology to reduce the frequency and duration of power outages, ComEd says. The technology enables the utility to better monitor the electrical system and respond quickly to potential issues. The substation is equipped with sensors that can help prevent power outages by analyzing up to 1,500 pieces of information every two seconds and alerting ComEd system operators when problems arise.

"Our approach addresses the complete substation," says Terry Donnelly, executive vice president and chief operating officer of ComEd. "We upgrade all the electro-mechanical devices to microprocessor technology and install advanced equipment diagnostics. This will dramatically improve our ability to constantly monitor the system, identify potential issues and keep them from becoming problems."

New features include an "Intelligent Substation Dashboard" that provides information on the overall health of the substation components and communicates directly to ComEd. The smart substation also receives voltage data from smart meters, which enables the utility to better monitor, manage and respond to system issues, as well as access historical trends related to energy use and system performance.

The Wallace facility is the first substation ComEd has made "smart." Plans call for 10 facilities to receive upgrades over the next five years.

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