Hosted by Commonwealth Edison and their Smart Grid manufacturer (S & C Industries of Chicago), I joined top city officials from twenty-five neighboring towns in Eastern DuPage and Western Cook County for a briefing on the new Smart Grid technology. This new technology has become the centerpiece of Commonwealth Edison’s goal of providing reliable electricity service.
For years here in Elmhurst we have struggled with unreliable service. One problem was the old power lines. To improve reliability of service, Commonwealth Edison has installed miles of the new Hendrix cabling system, which is designed to protect power lines and decrease outages by as much as 80%. According to Com Ed, Elmhurst has one of the highest percentages of Hendrix cable in the Chicagoland area.
This meeting, and the ongoing efforts that our city council and our city staff have made, are encouraging signs that Com Ed is investing in the latest technology. Though other subjects were covered, this meeting was designed to show city officials how their state of the art technology functions in a conventional set-up. Described as a self healing grid, the essential function of the local Smart Grid transformers is to automatically re-route electricity around a power outage so that one sub-station power outage will not paralyze an entire community or system.
As we found out with the Super Bowl, no system is a guaranteed system, so Elmhurst residents should always be prepared for extreme weather. Whether it’s keeping extra candles in your house, knowing where fresh batteries are located, or making sure you have access to a working generator or a friendly neighbor, it is important that our citizens are prepared to act safely.
I also encourage all residents to learn more about the 100% Green Power Program that is now offered as a result of our switch to an Electricity Aggregation Program. So far only 34 Elmhurst homes have elected to participate in this enhanced renewable energy program. Keep in mind that this program has nothing to do with the actual distribution of electrical service by Com Ed; it is an ecological choice consumers can make that will direct the new provider to purchase more energy from renewable energy sources (such as solar and wind). Under the standard Electricity Aggregation formula, Renewable Energy Certificates (Green Power) cover 50% of the electricity supply requirements.
So along with all city officials, please know that I will continue to work vigorously on behalf of homeowners across Elmhurst to make sure that Com Ed is being responsive to customer demands.