America’s electric grid is changing.
Today, technology allows us to communicate in unprecedented ways, access information anytime and anywhere, and make data-driven decisions. The electric grid is experiencing the same kind of transformation. Utilities are employing innovative technologies to power the grid of the future.
Exelon is a leader in creating the smart, resilient electric and natural gas systems of the future. A system capable of providing more information to help customers make smart energy choices and to help support new sources of renewable energy and distributed generation.
In 2015, we invested $3.7 billion in energy infrastructure improvements at the legacy Exelon energy companies, including $495 million in advanced meters and smart grid technology. Our investments continue to support the development of a smart, data-driven network powered by new technology.
Digital meters help Exelon utilities connect customers to the advanced grid.
These new meters enable two-way, wireless communications, providing customers with more information and control over their energy use. Customers will now be able to view their energy usage in real time to make smart energy choices to help them save energy and money.
The new meters also enable utilities to remotely connect or disconnect service, providing faster, more convenient service to customers by eliminating the need to send a crew to handle many requests. Through the end of 2015, Exelon legacy utilities BGE, ComEd and PECO have avoided more than 366,000 service calls through the use of advanced meters, reducing fuel consumption and lowering carbon emissions.
Smart grid technologies help to restore service faster after major storms.
During major weather events, our new meters can help utilities identify restoration priorities and better coordinate repair crews. During a major, destructive ice storm in 2014 this technology helped PECO restore service to more than 700,000 customers approximately three days faster.
"Smart switches" provide customers with more reliable power than ever, they also provide insight into power disturbances and can reroute power automatically. In fact, ComEd has avoided more than 3.3 million customer interruptions since 2012, including 1.2 million in 2014 because of smart switches. In 2014 alone, PECO’s prevented approximately 1 million sustained customer outages and BGE prevented more than 1.2 million outages.
ComEd has also begun upgrading some of its substations to become digital "smart substations". The smart substation is equipped with sensors that analyze up to 1,500 pieces of information every two seconds and can alert ComEd system operators when – or even before – problems arise. Rather than reacting to problems, ComEd can now monitor the system and prevent them. Ten substations will become “smart” soon, with five transitioning by the end of 2015.
This is just the beginning of the extraordinary benefits of the smart grid.
The future will include smart street lighting, smart cities and electric vehicle charging stations. These are all profound changes that promote a cleaner, greener future and will benefit generations to come.