Chicago utility eyes smart grid

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - Commonwealth Edison said its planned "smart grid" will restore Chicago area consumers' power more quickly when the lights go out.

A consumer's advanced electric meter could report an outage to the utility in an instant and ComEd could notify the customer by call or page when a power event occurs, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The smart grid would feature technology that immediately alerts ComEd when a disruption in power occurs, reroutes power so fewer customers are affected and allows ComEd to begin repairs more quickly, utility officials said.

The grid also provides customers with real-time information so they can make more informed choices about when and how they use electricity, the utility said.

ComEd officials also said the utility wants to install global positioning technology in its repair and maintenance vehicles, enabling a more efficient crew deployment.

The utility said its annual investments for the smart grid could range from $20 million to $250 million between 2008 and 2013.


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