ComEd will roll out its new “smart meters” in Brookfield, North Riverside and Riverside later this year, part of its 10-year plan to allow electricity customers to track their energy usage and perhaps change their habits to save money.
Jeff Philips, a spokesman for ComEd said the meters will start being installed “as early as September.” The company plans to roll out approximately 130,000 smart meters in the Chicago suburbs this year and another 370,000 in 2013.
Philips said that prior to the meters being introduced here, ComEd will pave the way with educational materials in the form of direct mail pieces, email alerts, bill inserts and brochures.
“It’ll teach folks how to read their first bill and some ways to use their new meters to reduce energy costs,” said Philips.
The smart meters will be able to give consumers more information about energy use, and ComEd says it will provide incentives in the form of rebates to customers who reduce energy use at peak times.
Smart meters track energy use every 30 minutes then transmit the information wirelessly to ComEd. That gives ComEd the ability to show customers trends in their personal energy use instead of giving them a raw number showing overall energy use. The hope is that customers may be able to modify their energy use and save money.
The use of wireless technology also means that readers will no longer be needed to visit homes to personally inspect the meters.
In addition, the new meters will allow ComEd to detect electricity outages immediately. Once the system is fully integrated, customers won’t have to call ComEd to report outages.
The meters will also allow ComEd to cut down on the amount of energy use it can’t account for, either through inactive meters or meter tampering.
Other nearby communities where smart meters will be rolled out in 2012 include Lyons, Stickney, Forest View, LaGrange Park and Westchester.