BLOOMINGDALE – Bloomingdale took a leap forward in technology Wednesday with the start of the installation of smart meters for ComEd customers.
The smart meters, which will replace the standard analog meters, are digital meters that collect energy-usage information and send it to ComEd, according to the village of Bloomingdale website.
At no cost to customers, the meters will eliminate estimated bills and the need for a meter reader to visit customers' homes.
“This allows us to check energy usage more frequently and wirelessly,” said Michael McMahan, vice-president of automatic meter infrastructure implementation for ComEd. “We’re excited to bring this to customers. They’ll have better control over their energy usage and more options to save.”
Customers can also enjoy benefits such as 24-hour access to their energy usage information and taking advantage of optional pricing programs, according to the ComEd website.
McMahan said the smart meters have computer chips and a radio that runs on the same frequency as a baby monitor. He added the chips store data at hourly intervals.
“The data is transmitted to us six times a day,” said McMahan.
But, no customer-identifying information is stored in a smart meter or transmitted across the network.
McMahan said Corix, a utility infrastructure company and contractor for ComEd, will install 10,200 smart meters over the next five months in Bloomingdale and Bloomingdale Township.
He added that over 4 million such meters will be installed in northern Illinois by the end of 2018.
Residents can ask for identification from the installers and McMahan said their is no charge for installation.
“Each resident has the ability to ask the installer for identification," said McMahan. “If they don’t have identification then that’s not us.”
McMahan said the analog equipment ComEd has now runs on dials and technology that have been around for 100 years. He added most customers are all for the improved technology.
“In this day and age, I can start my car from 50 miles away and they still have to walk up to your house and read the meter,” said McMahan.
ComEd will install the meters between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Customers will be notified by mail when installations are scheduled for their area, according to the ComEd site. The installation takes 10 minutes to complete and will briefly interrupt the customer’s electric service.