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Smart Grid – Where Are We?
Smart Grid – Where Are We?

The Illinois Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act has been in place for a little over a year now, and there have been some very noticeable changes and some that are probably not so noticeable. Here is a quick run-through of some of those updates:

  • ComEd has a new App where you can see outages across the system and also sign up for Outage Alerts. If you go to ComEd’s website, (www.comed.com) you can register and enter your meter number so you can receive text messages if your power goes out, along with an anticipated restoration time.
  • Other initiatives might be less noticeable but pack a huge punch, like the installation of the 472 distribution automation devices which can prevent up to 82,000 service interruptions. These devices switch a portion of line over to another line when there is an outage. This automatic switching can keep the lights on for most of the customers on a line that experiences a fault. What does this mean? If a summer storm comes through and a tree falls onto the line and knocks it down, your power can be switched to another line until they fix the damage, unless you are right around the tree.
  • ComEd also replaced over 450 miles of residential underground cable that had a history of faults.
  • Over 4,400 manholes have been refurbished and 46 miles of mainline cable has been replaced.
    In areas that have had a history of weather related outages, some overhead lines were converted to underground lines.

All of this work is very exciting but, it takes trained high voltage linemen to do the work. With many of the utilities across the country modernizing their grids, linemen are in high demand. To encourage local hiring by contractors and increase the ComEd work force, ComEd built a state-of-the-art training facility in Rockford this year that can train over 500 linemen a year.

While all of these improvements sound great, they will be very much appreciated when the next big storm rolls through and the upgrades kick into action. It is estimated that these improvements could avoid up to 700,000 customer outages per year.

Contact Erin Inman to learn more about Primera’s Power Division.

Smart Grid – Where Are We?