Chicago Storms Come Down; ComEd Rates Go Up

July 01, 2010

It seems like when the Chicago area gets rain lately, it becomes a major event complete with downed trees, destroyed property and power outages.

Would you be willing to pay more for your electricity each month if it meant less power outages during those storms?

Wouldn't it be nice if those amazing Chicago storms came with less consequences?

Well, you might not have a choice.

Commonwealth Edison on Wednesday filed a request with the Illinois Commerce Commission to raise electricity rates about seven percent.

ComEd officials said they need the money to modernize the electric company’s grid, which could lead to fewer and shorter power outages.

For the average homeowner who spends around $86 per month, your electric bill will go up about $6.

If approved, the new rates would start in June 2011.

By the way, ComEd just raised its rates 19 percent in June 2010.

What you need to get is a smart meter, which would allow you to monitor your daily usage and manage your costs.

ComEd has installed smart meters in nine towns and a part of Chicago.

And, whether you got one or not, you are paying for it.

Most ComEd customers had a line added to their electricity bills starting in February entitled, “Smart Meter Program.” Apparently, all ComEd customers share the costs of the new technology whether they benefit from it or not. At least it’s a reasonable charge: About $5 per year for the average consumer.

Currently, smart meters have been installed in Bellwood, Berwyn, Broadview, Forest Park, Hillside, Maywood, Melrose Park, Oak Park and River Forest, and the Humboldt Park area in Chicago as a test to see if the new technology really works.

The smart meter program officially began June 1 and will go through May 31, 2011. ComEd will then tell the ICC what it sees for this technology in the future.

And how much we’re going to pay for it.

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