CHICAGO (December 9, 2015) – The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) issued its final order today in ComEd’s Formula Rate Update for distribution or “delivery” of electricity in 2016, reflecting a rate decrease of approximately $66.7 million compared to 2015.
Today’s ruling comes after a thorough review of the proposal submitted by ComEd in April in compliance with the annual rate-setting process established by the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA) or Smart Grid law, which was enacted by the Illinois General Assembly in 2011. The reduction will amount to a decrease of about $1 on the average monthly residential bill starting in January. ComEd’s filing this year reflected a $55 million rate decrease. The ICC ruling also includes additional revenue reductions.
“The smart grid program is delivering on its promise to generate efficiencies and we are pleased to pass-along those savings to our customers by decreasing their electric delivery costs,” said Anne Pramaggiore, president and CEO, ComEd. “The investments in the smart grid program are producing a stronger, more reliable system with fewer outages. Those results mean less operational costs and greater savings for our customers.”
In submitting their annual rate requests, utilities must submit their previous year’s actual expenses and the current year’s projected capital investments. The ICC then has eight months to fully review and make a determination on the rate change request. The formula ratemaking process ensures the transparency required by the Commission and other parties to conduct an efficient yet thorough review of the rate request and requires that any savings be passed on to utility customers in a timely fashion.
Smart Grid investments are improving the strength and reliability of the electric system. Since 2012, there have been more than 5.8 million avoided customer interruptions due largely to grid modernizations and increased investments in distribution automation or digital “smart switches” that automatically route power around potential problem areas. Outage avoidance has saved customers an estimated $175 million.
ComEd’s reliability performance was in the top 10 percent of comparable U.S. utilities in 2014 and performance continues to improve in 2015 as investments to strengthen and modernize the system are resulting in fewer and shorter customer interruptions. Through June, there were 20 percent fewer customer interruptions during storms. Storm hardening work and storm restoration improvements have resulted in 30 percent faster restoration times.
Through October of this year, ComEd installed 1.8 million digital smart meters that allow for two-way communication between the utility and customers, providing information that enables customers to better manage energy consumption and costs and to access new pricing programs that reward shifting energy usage to lower-demand times of day. The company will complete the installation of 4 million smart meters in 2018. An upgraded, stronger electric system, fewer power interruptions and greater operational efficiencies will result in additional savings of approximately $2 billion over 20 years.
ComEd is advocating for legislation in Springfield to even more fully leverage the capabilities of the smart grid. This legislation – ComEd’s Future Energy Plan – would expand access to renewable energy, increase energy efficiency, enhance resiliency and security of the system and meet the growing demand among energy consumers for more choice and personalized services.
“Our Future Energy Plan is designed to ensure that customers will be able to realize the full potential of the investments we’re making to modernize our system while laying the foundation for continuous innovation, including Smart City technologies that will enhance quality of life and further establish northern Illinois as a leader in the new energy economy,” said Pramaggiore.