Commonwealth Edison, commonly known as ComEd, is the largest electric utility in Illinois, serving the Chicago and Northern Illinois area. The service territory roughly borders in Iroquois County to the south, the Wisconsin border to the north, the Iowa border to the west, and the Indiana border to the east.For more than 100 years, Commonwealth Edison has been the primary electric delivery services company for Northern Illinois. Today, ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation , one of the nation's largest electric and gas utility holding companies. ComEd provides electric service to more than 3.7 million customers across Northern Illinois.Commonwealth Edison's transmission lines operate at voltages of 69,000, 138,000, 345,000, and 765,000 volts, delivering power to their 3.8 million customer base. ComEd's subtransmission voltage is 34,500 volts. Their distribution line voltages are 4,160 volts, 7,200/12,470 volts and 7,970/13,800 volts. The company's revenues total more than $15 billion annually.ComEd has interconnections with American Electric Power on its 765KV system and with Wisconsin Electric to the north on its 345KV and 138KV systems and with Ameren to the south on its 345KV system. Wikipedia.
Silver Spring Networks reported Monday that it swung to profitability in 2015, according to preliminary financial results, and it also announced a big smart meter networking win with New York utility Consolidated Edison to sweeten the news. Silver Spring projected that it will earn 8 cents to 9 cents per share in fiscal year 2015 on revenues of $281 million to $282 million on a non-GAAP basis, coming in at the high range of its previous 2015 estimates. It’s the first annual profit for the publicly traded Redwood City, Calif.-based company, and a turnaround from 2014’s non-GAAP loss of $24.4 million, or 50 cents per share, on revenue of $276.7 million. Silver Spring also reported that it shipped about 613,000 wirelessly connected devices in 2015, up 13 percent from the previous year, bringing its cumulative total to more than 22.9 million endpoints. In addition, the company announced that it has filed a $200 million mixed shelf registration with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission for future stock, debt or warrant offerings to be used for “general corporate purposes.” These results, released a week ahead of its detailed fourth-quarter and full year 2015 results due on Feb. 16, were accompanied by news of Silver Spring’s award of a contract to deploy a combined 5.2 million smart meters with New York utilities Con Edison and Orange & Rockland Utilities. That includes about 3.9 million electric meters and 1.3 million natural gas meters for the two regulated operating companies of Consolidated Edison, in a deployment that awaits final approval from New York’s Public Service Commission before a scheduled start in early 2017. This win is noteworthy, in that it fits in with a much more robust set of capabilities being demanded of utility advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) networks under New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceeding, Silver Spring CEO Michael Bell noted in a Monday conference call. That includes 15-minute interval meter reads, as well as “real-time visibility into grid conditions and the ability to optimize voltage levels for maximum efficiency and minimal environmental impact,” he said. “Con Edison also plans to integrate a growing number of distributed energy resources and to support a variety of sensors and smart city applications.” Previous generations of smart meter networks haven’t required this kind of multi-application capabilities. But they’re part of the suite of services that Silver Spring has been promoting to differentiate it from competitors such as Itron, Landis+Gyr and Elster. In particular, it’s an important proving point for the company’s goal of becoming a favored provider of networks to support the “internet of things,” or IOT, Bell said. That’s a catch-all term that includes all manner of wirelessly connected endpoints that can deliver data and remote-control capabilities to utilities and cities. Silver Spring’s main foray into the IOT space has been in networked streetlights, boosted by its acquisition of Streetlight.Vision in 2014. The company has deployed pure-play streetlighting networks for the cities of Copenhagen, Paris and Glasgow, among others. It’s also put existing smart meter networks to use connecting streetlights for customers of utilities including Florida Power & Light in Miami-Dade County and Chicago’s Commonwealth Edison. But these networks are only the starting point for what Bell described as a full-court press into IOT applications for Silver Spring as part of its new “Starfish” platform -- a “robust, scalable and secure IOT networking solution” to “enable commercial enterprises, cities, utilities, and developers to access a reliable, secure, and scalable IOT network service with service-level agreements that meet their needs.” This move into IOT applications for its utility and streetlight-centric networks isn’t unique to Silver Spring. Competitors like Itron have been building increased computing and analytics flexibility into their networks, in hopes of adding smart thermostats, solar inverters, distribution grid devices, parking meters, traffic lights and environmental sensors to their roster of connected endpoints. (For a deeper dive into Starfish and Silver Spring’s IOT ambitions, check out our upcoming report at GTM Squared.) Silver Spring has brought increased bandwidth to its “Gen5” networking technology, doubling its throughput speed to 2.4 megabits per second and achieving a tenfold increase in processing power, compared to previous iterations of the technology announced in Jan. 2015. “We continue to invest in additional applications beyond AMI to capitalize on our growing footprint and unlock benefits of our multi-application network for our customers, led by streetlights, distribution automation, and analytics,” Bell said.
Commonwealth Edison | Date: 2012-10-26
A pulley system is provided to encourage contact between a pulley and a rope, chain, cord, cable and the like. The pulley system has first and second side legs, an axle, a pulley and at least one guide member. The guide member can be coupled to or formed integrally with at least one of the side legs. The guide member has at least one wall extending outwardly and away from the radial direction of the pulley to act as a funnel and encourage contact between a rope, chain, cable and the like and the pulley, thereby reducing the amount of force required to pull the item.
News Article | April 26, 2016
Localized power grids that have the ability to disconnect from the main, centralized grid – known as microgrids – have become one of the electricity industry’s latest darlings. Particularly after Hurricane Sandy knocked out electric generators and wires along the Northeast coast in 2012, urban and utility planners have been devising localized grids that can operate autonomously, strengthen the overall power system’s reliability and resilience, and protect critical infrastructure like hospitals, water treatment facilities, and police stations in the event of a grid-wide outage. There are environmental benefits to microgrids as well. Clean energy advocates tend to rave about the ability to integrate growing amounts of distributed energy resources, including solar, wind, energy storage, and demand response, which rewards customers for conserving energy. And by avoiding the long-distance transmission of electricity, microgrids and their distributed generators can also reduce energy losses and increase efficiencies. These outcomes all have the potential to curb pollution, while cutting costs for utilities and their customers. More importantly, as microgrids expand, they prompt us to imagine broader opportunities – and recent developments in Illinois are exploring new frontiers. There are many ways microgrids could serve as a critical piece to a smarter energy future: Progress and new opportunities in Illinois The number of microgrids is expanding, and Illinois is at the forefront of growth. For example, the state’s largest utility, Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), is building a microgrid in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, and recently received a $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to incorporate solar power and battery storage. And as an example of thinking beyond electricity, ComEd’s emerging Bronzeville microgrid will link to streetlights that can brighten automatically during a police emergency or dim in order to save energy. ComEd’s initiative and the Illinois Institute of Technology’s microgrid, which has everything it needs to operate the entire campus, offer changing perspectives on whether the localized grids need to be isolated. New technologies allow these two Chicago microgrids to be integrated in the main grid when appropriate in order to increase efficiencies, but they are still able to operate as islands when needed in emergencies. Finally, ComEd is also in the midst of rolling out four million advanced meters, and, working with Environmental Defense Fund and the Citizens Utility Board, has taken the lead on providing households with real-time data on their electricity use. The utility’s microgrid could find new ways to transform this data, with customers’ permission, into useful services that save money and improve people’s quality of life. Microgrids offer varied benefits, and Illinois’ developments will serve as a testbed. Some utilities see them as key parts of an emerging platform of services that will supply them with new revenue streams. A few in deregulated states also view microgrids as a backdoor means to own generation units. Technology companies view them as opportunities to offer new customer services. Environmentalists hope microgrids allow faster and more extensive deployment of efficiency and clean energy. More and more of the beholders, however, recognize microgrids challenge the basic, long-held assumption that the power grid must be controlled by a monopoly electric utility – opening the electricity-distribution market to innovation and investment from competitors.
News Article | March 26, 2015
CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Illinois Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee today passed SB 1879, known as “The Energy Plan for Illinois’ Future,” out of committee. The comprehensive bill expands support for renewable energy in Illinois and ensures that energy consumers and the state economy will continue to benefit from affordable renewable power, a more secure and resilient grid and future energy innovation. “We thank the Committee for advancing SB 1879, which is a bridge to a smarter energy future,” said ComEd senior vice president for Customer Operations, Val Jensen, who testified before the committee. “This package of investments and programs will build on the foundation of the Smart Grid that we have been laying since the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act was enacted in 2011. It also responds to the demand from our customers for more choice and greater control over their energy.” SB 1879 places a high priority on strengthening the security and resiliency of the grid by allowing ComEd to invest $300 million in the construction of six microgrids. Small power grids operating within a defined boundary, microgrids can connect to the main grid or function independently, reinforcing power during extreme weather or other events that threaten critical infrastructure. “As we strengthen the reliability and the efficiency of the grid through our Smart Grid advancements, it makes sense to further reinforce the security and resiliency of the power system to withstand unexpected challenges,” said Michelle Blaise, ComEd’s senior vice president of Technical Services and chief engineer. “The locations identified for the proposed microgrids are integral to healthcare, homeland security, transportation and water services and collectively, they serve a diverse range of communities throughout the region,” she added. “The ability to keep power flowing to critical infrastructure, such as hospitals and water treatment facilities during an extreme weather event or a major emergency is vital to the safety and well-being of residents and entire communities,” said Gary W. Schenkel, executive director, Office of Emergency Management and Communications, City of Chicago. “The microgrid pilot that ComEd is proposing will play an essential role in emergency management planning efforts and position our region to better withstand, and recover from, major threats to our safety and security.” ComEd’s proposal to strengthen the resiliency and security of the electrical grid system with a microgrid pilot program is an investment in the future of Illinois communities, according to Ken Bouche, COO at Hillard Heintze, one of the nation’s leading investigation and security firms. “Microgrids can help ensure rapid recovery from a disruptive weather event or unexpected security challenge,” said Bouche. “We commend ComEd’s leadership in helping to make Illinois a safe place to live and work.” Sponsored by State Senator Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood), State Representative Bob Rita (D-Blue Island) and State Rep. Ed Sullivan (R-Mundelein), the legislation will also create at least 400 full-time equivalent jobs in Illinois, in addition to the 3,600 positions supported by the Smart Grid program, including positions at the utility and its contractors and indirect positions. “Our employees have been proud to play an important role in the smart grid build out since the program began,” said Michael T. Carrigan, president, Illinois AFL-CIO. “We look forward to supporting the continued evolution and expanding capabilities of this new modern grid serving our region.” ComEd’s Smart Energy Plan legislation would also establish Illinois as a leader for a cleaner, greener energy future by ensuring the integration of renewable energy, including community solar projects. Additional features of the legislation include: the allocation of an additional $50 million in financial assistance for utility customers in need; the expansion of energy efficiency programs to reduce energy waste and increase customer savings; the construction of 5,000 electric vehicle charging stations aimed at jumpstarting the Illinois electric vehicle market; refinements to Illinois’ existing renewable energy portfolio standard; and a new demand-based rate design that will allow for the equitable sharing of grid costs. Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with approximately 7.8 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit ComEd.com, and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Two years ago, energy investment veteran Peter Kind wrote a report for the Edison Electric Institute, suggesting that utilities need to be freed to develop alternative business models to deal with the threat of third-party distributed energy. Among the new revenue streams, tariff structures and cost-sharing mechanisms the report put on the table, there were some ideas that have drawn fire from the solar industry, such as reducing compensation for net-metered solar customers. But none has proven as unpopular as fixed charges for solar-equipped or net-metered customers. That’s why Kind’s latest report, Pathway to a 21st Century Electric Utility Model, released Monday on behalf of sustainable investment nonprofit Ceres, takes it off the table. That’s not to say that the pressure to find utility alternatives has eased, Kind said in a recent interview. In fact, with the Clean Power Plan, utilities face an entirely new set of uncertainties, as well as opportunities, in their clean energy futures, he said. But fixed-charge proposals rolled out by vanguard utilities in the past two years have faced widespread opposition from solar advocates and the general public, as well as skepticism from regulators, he said. “Two years later, I’m thinking, 'Well, that’s pissing off a lot of people,'” he said. What’s more, fixed charges are “not sending the right price signal,” he said, because they’re a cost that customers can’t reduce, no matter how efficiently they manage their electricity. And where fixed charges have gone through, such as at Arizona utility Salt River Project, they’ve crimped the growth of solar significantly. That’s antithetical to the broader imperative to encourage clean energy, the report notes. These are some of the reasons why utility Arizona Public Service has dialed back its original solar fixed-charge proposal. Instead, it’s asking state regulators to take up the issue of how to share costs across solar and non-solar customers in a future proceeding, meant to determine the true cost of serving the distribution grid. That’s the kind of work that could inform new ways to compensate net-metered solar customers, based on the value of the solar they generate. One idea is to stop paying net-metered customers the retail rate for the solar power they produce, and switch them to a rate set by competitive wholesale rates, or the “levelized cost of the lowest incremental cost to deploy efficient renewables” -- in other words, some kind of value-of-solar tariff. This is similar to what Hawaii has done with net metering, and what California utilities are proposing in the state’s net metering 2.0 proceeding. These aren’t popular ideas with rooftop solar companies, however, because they will reduce revenues significantly -- in Hawaii and California, the utility proposals would pay roughly half the retail rates, on average. Even so, “We can’t afford to buy the least efficient renewables,” Kind argued. “We need to find out what the most efficient renewables are, and the owner of those most efficient renewables should receive either the wholesale price for energy, or if it’s higher, the most efficient cost of renewables adjusted for getting it to your house.” Community solar, which allows individuals to “own” a portion of a larger-scale solar system, can provide a more capital-efficient entry for homeowners and small businesses, he said. It could help expand the market to the roughly four-fifths of the population that lacks a proper roof for solar PV. Tariff structures such as time-of-use rates could help encourage planning and investment in solar that more closely matches grid needs, as well as drive behavior change -- “If you’re going to use energy at the most expensive time of the day, you should pay for it,” he said. Bidirectional metering capabilities could allow compensation schemes that separate consumption and generation, he added. Kind, the executive director of Energy Infrastructure Advocates and a former long-time energy and utilities investment director, also laid out some high-level ideas for loosening the linkage between utility capital investments and guaranteed rates of return. The report suggests the U.K.’s Totex (total expenditures) model, which includes incentives to consider operating investments that replace or defer capital investment, as one option. Regulators should also decouple utility revenues from energy sales, as states like California have done, to take away a direct disincentive for utilities to invest in energy efficiency. Cost-of-service regulatory frameworks should be replaced with systems that allow utilities to earn incentives for exceeding expectations, along with penalties for not meeting them, he added. This is rare today, although states like Oklahoma and Ohio have made them part of specific utility smart-grid deployments, and Illinois lawmakers have ordered Commonwealth Edison to hit certain performance metrics for its 2.2-million-unit smart meter deployment. As for new revenue streams, utilities could use their connections with customers, such as call centers and web portals, to open “app stores,” he said -- clearinghouses of utility and third-party energy services, that could earn revenues on a “per-click” basis. “Today, you can go to utility websites and learn about products, but you can’t click through, because there’s no incentive there,” he said. In terms of how different states are realizing this vision, Kind said that New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision initiative seems to be relegating utilities to a role as a platform provider for third-party energy services companies, rather than as a participant. California’s wide-ranging reforms are “all interesting,” he said, though “I wish they’d come up with a comprehensive plan, rather than a bunch of mandates.” Minnesota’s e21 Initiative is also an interesting initiative, although it’s so far led by non-utility players, he said. It's in everyone's interest to ensure that utilities remain financially healthy, given that they’re still going to be the provider of energy to the vast majority of people for decades to come -- claims of “grid defection” not withstanding, he said. Along with the net-metering challenges in solar-rich states like Hawaii, California and Arizona, utilities everywhere still face flat or declining energy demand, hundreds of billions of dollars in future infrastructure costs, and the mandate to fairly share costs across all customers. “I think we’re going to need plenty of solar,” he said. “If the Clean Power Plan is implemented as proposed, we need all of it. The question is, at what price? Solar is a good proposition for many customers, no matter what the [net metering] rate might be. This doesn’t suggest the demise of rooftop. But if we’re using customers’ money, let’s spend it on the most efficient product available.”