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How ComEd Will Install Smart Meters

By: DIANE TURNER-HURNS |

ComEd officials will provide an overview of this month’s planned installation of new “smart meters” — devices which automatically send electric meter readings, provide two-way usage information online and help manage power outages — in Rolling Meadows homes during next Tuesday’s, Nov. 18 city committee of the whole (COW) meeting.

A smart meter is a digital electric meter that collects usage information and, according to ComEd officials, transmits the information to the company through a wireless connection. According to ComEd Director of External Affairs Manager Cynthia Thomas, smart meters will also provide customers with access to energy use information online.

Additionally, Thomas told city officials last month during a COW meeting that because the meters automatically send readings to ComEd, they could help eliminate estimated bills and reduce operating costs.

Thomas said Rolling Meadows residents should receive a letter from the company on the smart meter installation process soon.

“We look forward to getting a schedule of ComEd’s smart meter installation in Rolling Meadows, which we have not received yet,” Director of Public Works Fred Vogt said last month.

According to officials, smart meters will be installed in the same meter socket as existing meters.

Smart meters contain two, low-power radios. One radio transmits electricity-use information back to ComEd for billing. The other radio allows energy-usage data to be sent to an in-home device, such as an energy display or a “smart thermostat” that the customer can elect to purchase and install in their home.

Following the Nov. 18 meeting, officials should have a schedule of when and where the smart meter installations will take place in Rolling Meadows.

As for the installation process, city officials said this will be done only by uniformed ComEd installers with company identification. ComEd said a worker does not need to come inside one’s home to install the smart meter.

Company officials said residents do not need to be home if company workers can access the meter. One week prior to meter installation, the company will call the resident to alert them when their home installation is slated. Installations will occur between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and take about 10 minutes. A brief interruption of electric service will occur during the installation.

As for concerns about protecting collected customer data, ComEd officials say the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act contains requirements for maintaining privacy of customer-related data. The company also said they have taken precautions to protect customers’ data.

Tuesday’s COW meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. at city hall, 3600 Kirchoff Rd.