So-called “smart meters” are being installed in Evanston by Commonwealth Edison that will enable residents and businesses to keep close watch on their electricity usage.
The company plans to install approximately 4 million smart meters in all homes and businesses across Northern Illinois by the end of 2018. The company’s installation schedule calls for the work in Evanston to be completed in the next few months.
Meter technician Kwame Wilson replacing meters Wednesday in northwest Evanston
So what do the smart meters do for the consumer?
For one thing, the new meters will send usage data automatically to ComEd, which will not only eliminate the need for a meter reader to visit your home, but it also is expected to eliminate estimated usage on your bills due to an unread meter.
Also, when there is a power outage to your home or business, that information will be relayed to ComEd automatically, which should enable crews to restore your power sooner.
While you will not be charged for your meter switch, the fact that you have a new smart meter will make you eligible to sign up for certain services that could actually cut your electricity bill, such as ComEd’s Peak Time Savings program, that varies the cost of your electricity during the day, based upon the total demand on the system.
In plain English, that means that, in the summer time, when air conditioners balloon the demand for electricity, you can elect to divert some of your electrical usage, such as ironing and running the dishwasher, to hours when many air conditioners are not drawing power.
By the same token, if means your electricity cost can be higher for those kilowatts you use during high-demand periods.
You can also enroll to receive high-usage alerts by phone or email when your usage is trending higher than usual, and you can sign up to receive weekly usage reports that summarize your daily usage and the amount you're projected to see on your next electric bill.
Further information about the smart meter program is available on the ComEd website.