WBEZ | ComEd http://www.wbez.org/tags/comed Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en ICC says ComEd can delay rollout of smart meters http://www.wbez.org/news/icc-says-comed-can-delay-rollout-smart-meters-104210 <p><p>The Illinois Commerce Commission has agreed to let Commonwealth Edison delay the rollout of so-called &quot;smart&quot; meters.</p><p>The digital devices record electricity consumption in greater detail than older meters. They will be installed on homes in ComEd&#39;s&nbsp;service area as part of a program to modernize the electrical grid to prevent outages and help consumers save money.&nbsp;</p><p>The ICC voted Wednesday to grant the company&#39;s request to postpone.</p><p>But the commission said it did not think ComEd&#39;s claim of insufficient funding for the project was valid.<br /><br />&quot;The rates that were approved by the commission allow them to recover all of their expenses associated with this project as well as to earn a return on their investment in it,&quot; said Beth Bosch, spokesperson for the commission.</p><p>ComEd disagrees with the ICC on 12 technical issues in the commission&#39;s proposed rate formula. The company said the ICC&#39;s formulas will decrease its revenues by at least $100 million per year and make the smart meter project unsustainable.</p><p>&quot;We are not going to be able to embark on a billion-dollar investment program without assurance of having adequate funding,&quot; said Judy Rader of ComEd.</p><p>ComEd wants to delay installation until 2015;&nbsp;the ICC said it will revisit the issue in April.</p></p> Wed, 05 Dec 2012 12:54:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/icc-says-comed-can-delay-rollout-smart-meters-104210 Municipal electricity aggregation explained http://www.wbez.org/news/municipal-electricity-aggregation-explained-103585 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F65654115&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;color=ff7700" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/3230835112_8055f4dbe5_z.jpg" style="float: right; height: 400px; width: 300px; " title="Power lines against the blue sky in Chicago. (Flickr/Eric Allix Rogers)" />Chicago voters next week won&#39;t just be choosing who takes the reins in the White House. They&rsquo;ll decide whether to give City Hall the power to negotiate for cheaper power bills. &nbsp;</p><p>The question on the ballot is as follows:</p><p><strong>&quot;Shall the City of Chicago have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such program.&quot;</strong></p><p>In short, we&rsquo;re talking about municipal electricity aggregation.&nbsp;Here&rsquo;s how it works: City Hall bundles all the residential and small business electricity customers together, and&nbsp;then they negotiate with smaller suppliers to see who can give them the best rate. &nbsp;It&rsquo;s kind of like a Costco approach--buying in bulk means cheaper prices.<br /><br />Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is all for it.<br /><br />&quot;I&rsquo;ve looked at other cities, buying in bulk can save homeowners and residents money. And so therefore I&rsquo;ll support putting it on the ballot and I will advocate for it,&quot; <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/eight-forty-eight/2012-06-21/emanuel-supports-electrical-aggregation-chicago-100289">Emanuel told reporters last summer</a>, when the referendum was first introduced.<br /><br />If Chicago switched to this plan, it wouldn&rsquo;t be alone: 248 other municipalities in Illinois have already started up their own aggregation programs, and some residents say it&rsquo;s been working pretty well.<br /><br />Take Wilmette homeowner Stephen Schwartz, for example. Schwartz says he&#39;s always trying to save energy, as his mid-1930s colonial &nbsp;has all the problems of an older house: windows that aren&#39;t well-insulated, uninsulated brick exterior, etc.&nbsp;He was glad the Village of Wilmette was able to cut his electricity rate in half through their aggregation program.</p><p>&quot;All the lights are still on, I can still use my computer, charge the electric mower, that kind of thing, so no, no problems,&quot; Schwartz said.<br /><br />David Kolata, Executive Director of the Citizens Utility Board, said those savings could be available for Chicago, if voters say yes. According to Kolata,&nbsp;the current price from Commonwealth Edison is 8.32 cents a kilowatt hour, while smaller suppliers could offer an average rate of 4.83 cents a kilowatt hour.<br /><br />If the referenda passes, Kolata says some things will still be the same. ComEd is still responsible for taking care of electrical poles and wires, but the actual electricity will come from the new supplier.&nbsp;<br /><br />Still, Kolata warns the cheap rates of a municipal aggregation program might not last forever.<br /><br />&quot;Just because you&rsquo;re saving now, this isn&rsquo;t a magic bullet, and it may not always work,&quot; Kolata said.<br /><br />Kolata said ComEd&rsquo;s higher prices are set to expire next June, and they&rsquo;re expected to drop after that.&nbsp;Which means ComEd could eventually have the lowest rate.</p><p>As for ComEd, the company says it supports shopping around. In a statement, the company says it &quot;encourages customers to shop for electricity,&quot; and &quot;customers should explore any opportunities to save money on their bills, whether that&#39;s through shopping or energy efficiency.&quot;</p><p>Voters looking for information about the city&#39;s potential bidding process can head over to the city&#39;s website:</p><ul><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/dps/ContractAdministration/Specs/2012/Spec112257.pdf">City&#39;s Request for Qualifications</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/electricityaggregation">Chicago Electricity Aggregation information&nbsp;</a></li></ul></p> Thu, 01 Nov 2012 05:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/municipal-electricity-aggregation-explained-103585 ComEd workers head east to provide relief to storm-ravaged coast http://www.wbez.org/news/comed-workers-head-east-provide-relief-storm-ravaged-coast-103574 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F65574347%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-jOgD7&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;secret_url=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>As the East Coast slowly recovers from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, some Chicagoans are actively lending a hand.&nbsp;</p><p>More than 700 employees of Chicago-based utility Commonwealth traveled to Baltimore and Philadelphia to help restore electricity to the region.</p><p>ComEd Senior Vice President Tyler Anthony has been busy since he arrived on the East Coast. &ldquo;Well, I guess I got here on Saturday, so I want to say our crews and myself arrived Sunday evening and I don&rsquo;t know the day &ndash; I apologize, is it Wednesday?&rdquo;</p><p>Anthony, who&rsquo;s been based in the emergency management offices of Philadelphia utility PECO, says his Chicago crew of more than 300 workers has been putting in 16 hour days.</p><p>ComEd and PECO are both owned by Exelon Corporation.</p><p>They expect to restore power to Philadelphia residents by the end of this weekend. Then, he and his crew will come back home.</p><p>&ldquo;When you&rsquo;re driving down a street and you see what some of these trees that have gone on top of houses or on vehicles... it&rsquo;s just a very, very, very tough thing and your heart goes out to these folks.&rdquo;</p><p>Meanwhile, The American Red Cross is asking Chicagoans to donate blood. &nbsp;The blood bank had to cancel 325 pre-planned blood drives across 13 states that were affected by the storm.</p><p>A list of upcoming Chicago blood drives is available on the Red Cross&nbsp;<a href="http://www.redcrossblood.org/HeartofAmerica">website.</a></p></p> Wed, 31 Oct 2012 16:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/comed-workers-head-east-provide-relief-storm-ravaged-coast-103574 48,000 ComEd customers still without power http://www.wbez.org/news/48000-comed-customers-still-without-power-100607 <p><p>Repair crews have restored power for about 300,000 Commonwealth Edison customers, but the utility is still working to get the lights back on for about 48,000 customers in northern&nbsp;Illinois.</p><p>ComEd spokesman Tony Hernandez says most of the remaining outages should be fixed by Wednesday but a few customers will remain without service until Thursday. Hernandez says that&#39;s because repair crews are having to remove the downed trees from Sunday&#39;s storms before repairing the damaged ComEd equipment.</p><p>ComEd&#39;s repair crews are getting help from other utilities, including Ameren&nbsp;Illinois&nbsp;and Ameren Missouri.</p><p>Hernandez says about 440 ComEd crews are working to restore service, with the help of about 180 crews from neighboring utilities. And he says more help will arrive Wednesday.</p></p> Tue, 03 Jul 2012 08:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/48000-comed-customers-still-without-power-100607 Emanuel supports electrical aggregation in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/programs/eight-forty-eight/2012-06-21/emanuel-supports-electrical-aggregation-chicago-100289 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/6908700864_74fbe8e007_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he wants the city to vie for cheaper electricity rates from companies other than ComEd. The city council will look at a proposal Friday that would be the first step towards making those negotiations possible.</p><p>ComEd is the electricity giant in Chicago.&nbsp;If the city wants the authority to negotiate for more competitive rates with any other suppliers, state law says Chicago voters have to weigh in.&nbsp;Two powerful Chicago aldermen, Ald. Patrick O&#39;Connor (40th) and Ald. Ed Burke (14th), recently proposed a referendum that would put the issue. If their proposal passes through city council, then voters will decide in November.&nbsp;</p><p>The concept is known as &quot;municipal electricity aggregation.&quot; It allows cities to bundle all residential and small business electricity supplied together, and negotiate for volume discounts from smaller suppliers. The aggregation affects the cost for the supply of electricity, not the delivery of electricity.&nbsp;</p><p>According to the consumer watchdog organization Citizens Utility Board, ComEd electricity bills contain both those costs, but only the supply would change if Chicago goes forward with the plan. ComEd electricity rates from September to June cost 6.932 cents per kilowatt hour, and will jump to 8.32 per kwh from October to May of next year. Meanwhile, according to a CUB spokesman, some of these smaller suppliers are offering rates of under a nickle per kilowatt hour.&nbsp;</p><p>Mayor Emanuel told reporters at an unrelated event Wednesday he&#39;s for the referendum and cheaper electricity rates.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;I do believe, I&#39;ve looked at other cities, buying in bulk can save homeowners and residents money. Therefore I&#39;ll support putting it on the ballot and I will advocate for it,&quot; he said.</p><p>ComEd released a statement late Thursday night in response to the mayor&#39;s support, saying they support competition.</p><p>&quot;If the City of Chicago decides to pursue an aggregation program, we will work cooperatively with them and provide the same information we have provided to other municipalities and governments that elected to aggregate,&quot; the statement said.</p><p>According to CUB, 188 other ComEd territories in Illinois have already either signed off on the referendum, or negotiated new prices for customers.&nbsp;A spokesman for Alderman Ed Burke says some of those municipalites have reported savings of 15 to 30 percent lower than ComEd.&nbsp;</p><p>ComEd said its primary focus is on providing high quality delivery services.</p><p>If the referendum passes in Chicago, voters who don&#39;t want their electricity costs to be bundled can opt-out of the aggregation program.&nbsp;</p><p>The proposal will come before a city council committee Friday.&nbsp;</p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Thu, 21 Jun 2012 08:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/eight-forty-eight/2012-06-21/emanuel-supports-electrical-aggregation-chicago-100289 ComEd CEO Frank Clark looks back on his climb from the mail room http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-10/comed-ceo-frank-clark-looks-back-his-climb-mail-room-95424 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-January/2012-01-10/headshot-clark-large.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Frank Clark began his career at <a href="https://www.comed.com/Pages/home.aspx" target="_blank">Commonwealth Edison</a> in the mailroom. More than 45 years later, he became chairman and CEO of the largest electric utility company in Illinois. Clark will retire next month but recently sat down for a chat with WBEZ’s Richard Steele. He began by telling Steele that his career at ComEd began with some basic knowledge of the company.</p><p><em>Music Button: Jackie McLean, "Omega", from the album Let Freedom Ring (Blue Note)</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 10 Jan 2012 15:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-10/comed-ceo-frank-clark-looks-back-his-climb-mail-room-95424 ComEd smart grid updates to begin this month http://www.wbez.org/story/comed-smart-grid-updates-begin-month-95291 <p><p>Construction on Chicago-based Commonwealth Edison's new electrical grid system is scheduled to begin in January.</p><p>The announcement comes about one week after Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed controversial legislation allowing electric companies to raise rates to pay for a so-called digital "smart grid."</p><p>ComEd said the $2.6 billion project could create more than 1,000 permanent jobs in the Chicago area over the next five years.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel said on Wednesday the upgrade is an essential investment for the city.</p><p>"We are preparing our economy of tomorrow with jobs today, and it allows us to also make the types of investments that are necessary to propel our economy with the jobs and the industries of tomorrow," said Emanuel.</p><p>ComEd estimated the grid updates will cost each customer about $3 extra per month. The company defended the increases on Wednesday as necessary to pay for needed updates to its power grid.</p></p> Wed, 04 Jan 2012 21:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/comed-smart-grid-updates-begin-month-95291 Occupy Chicago wins again! Bears listen to their demands to release Chris Harris http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-10-27/occupy-chicago-wins-again-bears-listen-their-demands-release-chris-h <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-27/AP110729060852.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>I'm going to start a new segment today called "Occupy-related media found on Facebook." There's really no way to tell if this stuff is real or taken out of context, so I preface my new segment with a disclaimer: This was found on Facebook. So take that with a grain of salt.</p><p>I saw this on a friend's post - a letter thrown out the window from the Chicago Board of Trade. This person doesn't like the protesters and has something to say about it (and the state of our economy). I linked it back to<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/chicago/comments/lpy0b/just_got_back_from_a_rally_at_the_board_of_trade/"> Reddit where it has 400+ comments</a>, mostly arguing about how much teachers actually make.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-27/reddit-letter.jpg" style="width: 570px; height: 376px;" title=""></p><p>So <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/occupy-chicago-protests-city-hall-93524">Occupy Chicago marched on City Hall yesterday to deliver a petition to Mayor Rahm Emanuel</a>. The petition is all about letting Occupy Chicago set up in Grant Park without being arrested. The mayor didn't come out, but a spokesperson did. If they don't hear anything from the mayor's office in two weeks, the protesters are threatening to come back again. I wasn't there yesterday, but did the protesters hit drums in that cavernous hallway? God that would have been annoying. I'm sorry, I'm down with protesting City Hall, but that's like honking your horn in Loop rush hour traffic. It may be justified, but that doesn't mean it still isn't super annoying.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>B story</strong>: The state legislature <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/8429910-418/illinois-senate-overrides-gov-quinns-veto-of-comed-rate-hike-bill.html">got to work yesterday and overrode the Governor Quinn veto on the ComEd smart grid</a>. What's that, you say? Well, ComEd wants state money to create a better grid for delivering electricity. They want to raise your rates per month for the next 10+ years to pay for it. They claim the smart grid technology will allow them to better deliver electricity - and allow consumers to better monitor its use. Quinn vetoed the bill this summer because he felt the legislation was just a way for the utility companies to raise rates on Illinois consumers. Critics believe that ComEd will never bring the rates back down once the smart grid is in place. I don't know.&nbsp; If there is one thing I believe Governor Quinn is experienced in, it's fighting the utility companies. That's really how he made his name. So if he can't win on this, what does that mean for legislation he isn't strong on? In this case, I believe in Governor Quinn's track record. And he was joined by our State's Attorney Lisa Madigan. They were trounced in the veto vote. That's why this might be a tough day for Illinois. Energy lobbyists: 1, Quinn/Lisa Madigan: 0.</p><p><strong>C story</strong>: The Chicago Childrens Museum's move to Grant Park has been officially <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-childrens-museum-20111027,0,7811576.story">'scuttled.'</a> I thought that was already a given? Is there a new editor in Chicago news who hasn't been paying attention during the last year? Did they transfer someone from marketing who is taking press releases or budget proposals as first time news? This is a footnote story, not a headline. Sorry, but when the museum said they were going to propose expanding at Navy Pier, what did you think that meant?</p><p><strong>D story</strong>: I didn't know that Alderman Dick Mell was an avid reader of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-09-28/attention-tax-man-here-are-few-more-suggestions-nex-taxes-wont-you-a">this here blog</a>. Yesterday, <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/8435830-418/alderman-asks-whether-bikes-should-be-licensed.html">he recalled a post I did earlier (not by name) suggesting we license bikes</a>. If he starts fact-checking Wikipedia pages to the stars, then we might have a problem. For the record, I agree with the alderman. License bikes and ticket them if they don't stop at red lights and stop signs. Done. A trillion dollars and a city surplus. Glory days are here again. What can I say? I'm a taste maker.</p><p><strong>E story</strong>: <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/8435852-417/failure-to-shovel-snow-from-your-sidewalk-could-prove-costly.html">Alderman Tunney wants to ticket you if you don't shovel your snow</a>. You've been warned, deadbeat! Now, license dibs.</p><p><strong>F story</strong>: Zorn is covering the Cellini trial. Wants to know the <a href="http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2011/10/what-the-h-kind-of-job-is-levine.html?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+chicagotribune%2Fchangeofsubject+%28Chicago+Tribune+-+Change+of+Subject%29">right spelling and meaning</a> of wack job. Or is it whack job?</p><p><strong>Weather</strong>: Ah, the end of October. It's sideways rain time!</p><p><strong>Sports</strong>: <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/chi-bears-release-veteran-safety-chris-harris-20111027,0,4423702.story">The Bears released Safety Chris Harris today</a>. Yikes, that's the end of the line for a guy who experts and fans believed was the permanent fix. Harris came in last year and solidified a position that was constantly underachieving. He started this year but got hurt and came back tentative. He must have had it out with coaching or something because he went from a leader of the defense to being cut in a matter of weeks. Ah, football. Lovie and Jerry Angelo seem to be very bi-polar with their players. Is Bears management disloyal? Last year, the Bears fell out of favor with their prized defensive tackle Tommie Harris. They unceremoniously cut DE's Alex Brown and Mark Anderson. Before that, they shipped their workhorse running back Thomas Jones and demoted and released star cornerback Nathan Vasher. This year, they balked on paying Olin Kreutz, Lance Briggs and of course, Matt Forte. Interesting picture.</p><p>Also, wasn't <a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/nfl/news/story?id=6646841">Chris Harris rather outspoken</a> (via Twitter) during the lockout? Payback.</p><p>Hey, if you want a great summary of the Bears vs. Bucs game from someone in attendance, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-10-24/bears-are-4-3-which-according-players-and-coaches-exactly-where-they">check out W Shane Oman's take</a>. He left a comment this morning on last week's wrap-up. Great read about experiencing football abroad.</p><p><strong>Kicker</strong>: Did you see the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-26/jc-brooks-and-uptown-sound-deliver-some-21st-century-soul-93493">performance of JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound in our studios</a>? Great song and video, edited by Andrew Gill:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/31142601?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=b30000" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="601" frameborder="0" height="338"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 27 Oct 2011 13:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-10-27/occupy-chicago-wins-again-bears-listen-their-demands-release-chris-h Suburbs ask state to hold ComEd accountable http://www.wbez.org/story/suburbs-ask-state-hold-comed-accountable-93022 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-10/RS2529_comed-scr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Suburban governments are turning to the Illinois General Assembly to force utility provider ComEd to provide better response to widespread power outages.</p><p>Leaders in the <a href="http://www.nwmc-cog.org/">Northwest Municipal Conference</a> say the company needs to improve its communication with them during widespread power outages. They also want ComEd to improve its power restoration process and invest more in its electrical infrastructure.</p><p>“We don’t know, and I don’t believe ComEd has, performance measures to say that, yes, this is how long it should take to restore X outage or Y outage,” said Christopher Canning, president of the Village of Wilmette and head of the NWMC. “Our challenge to the General Assembly is that if communities are out of power — police stations, fire stations, village halls are out of power — what is an acceptable time in which ComEd has to restore those outages?”</p><p>Canning says ComEd’s slow and haphazard response to several widespread and prolonged storm-related outages over the summer hamstrung municipal efforts to bring critical safety services, like fire and emergency response, back online quickly. The Conference has submitted a white paper to legislators to ask them to create performance and accountability measures for the utility company, and to force ComEd to pay damage claims if it falls short. There is such a provision that allows outage victims to seek compensation under the Illinois Public Utilities Act, but in most cases ComEd seeks and wins exemptions from having to pay those claims.</p><p>Fidel Marquez, Senior Vice President of Customer Operations at ComEd, says the company is aligned with suburban leaders in wanting to improve its outage response. But he says setting a deadline to restore powers after storms won’t necessarily solve the problem. “Conditions may be so different and significant from storm to storm that a simple measure like that really becomes almost something that makes no sense,” said Marquez.</p><p>State Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Highwood) plans to draft legislation using the NWMC’s recommendations.</p></p> Wed, 12 Oct 2011 10:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/suburbs-ask-state-hold-comed-accountable-93022 Suburban officials lobby to uphold 'smart grid' veto http://www.wbez.org/story/suburban-officials-lobby-uphold-smart-grid-veto-93058 <p><p>Suburban government officials are calling on Illinois lawmakers to uphold the governor's veto of legislation backed by Commonwealth Edison.</p><p>Members of the Northwest Municipal Conference said the electric company should make improvements to its infrastructure and response systems that left thousands without power for days earlier this year. Wilmette village president Christopher Canning says those improvements must come before ComEd is allowed to raise rates for new “smart grid” technology.</p><p>“The communications problems, the reliability problems, the infrastructure problems exist and will not be solved by smart grid,” said Canning.</p><p>Members of the conference called ComEd's response to July's massive thunderstorms, which left more than 850,000 people without power, “abysmal”.</p><p>In September, Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed legislation that would have allowed the state’s two electric utility companies to raise rates in order to make improvements to the power grid, dismissing it as a power grab.</p><p>ComEd insists a smart grid system is necessary to get customers back online quickly after outages and save money in the long run.</p></p> Tue, 11 Oct 2011 19:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/suburban-officials-lobby-uphold-smart-grid-veto-93058