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ComEd Upgrades, Grid Modernization Projects Begin in Illinois

Commonwealth Edison Co. (ComEd) announced in March that it was beginning its massive 10-year, $2.6 billion grid modernization project, which will affect the electricity utility’s entire service area.

In a news release, ComEd said it plans the following improvements to be completed by the end of the first quarter:

1. Replace or reinforce utility poles at approximately 250 locations, to help maintain the grid and improve reliability in storm conditions.

2. Replace or inject more than 506,000 feet of underground residential distribution (URD) cable the electrical cable they bury under the ground in neighborhoods to take electricity to homes in order to reduce the number of cable failures.

3. Other enhancements designed to improve performance and reduce service interruptions include lighting enhancements, installing nearly 600 distribution automation devices, replacing more than 32,000 feet of mainline cable, assessing manholes at 660 locations, and testing 12 sections of cable.

Additional work planned throughout 2012 includes replacing or reinforcing utility poles at 1,400 locations, replacing or injecting more than 1.6 million feet of URD cable, performing additional lighting enhancements, installing more than 430 distribution automation devices, trimming trees in approximately 2,300 locations, replacing more than 15,000 feet of mainline cable, conducting testing on nearly 100 sections of cable and assessing manholes at more than 3,200 locations.

Planned Upgrades in the Suburbs

About 65 suburbs in ComEd’s service area will be targeted for upgrades. Here’s a sampling of the affected areas, according to the Daily Herald:

Arlington Heights

First-quarter of 2012: Replace more than 8,900 feet of URD cable. Installing six distribution automation devices, replacing 20 feet of mainline cable and testing.

The remainder of 2012: Replace more than 18,900 feet of URD cable. Tree trimmings in four locations.

Des Plaines

First-quarter of 2012: Replace over 270 feet of URD cable. Installing four distribution automation devices and testing.

The remainder of 2012: Replace about 560 feet of URD cable. Replace and reinforce utility poles in one location. Tree trimming in eight locations.

Elgin

First-quarter of 2012: Replace more than 680 feet of URD cable. Replace more than 2,700 feet of mainline cable.

Later in 2012: Replace about 30,400 feet of URD cable. Tree trimming in more than 20 locations.

Gurnee

First-quarter of 2012: Replace more than 150 feet of URD cable. Installing eight distribution automation devices.

The remainder of 2012: Replace more than 17,890 feet of URD cable. Tree trimming in more than 15 locations.

Hoffman Estates

First-quarter of 2012: Replace more than 19,320 feet of URD cable. Replacing more than 1,500 feet of mainline cable.

The remainder of 2012: Replace more than 18,000 feet of URD cable. Tree trimming.

Lombard

First-quarter of 2012: Install lighting enhancement and one distribution automation device.

The remainder of 2012: Replace nearly 27,900 feet of URD cable. Tree trimming in 14 locations and installing three distribution automation devices.

Palatine

First-quarter of 2012: Replace more than 45,300 feet of URD cable. VLF testing in one section.

The remainder of 2012: Replace more than 49,600 feet of URD cable.

Schaumburg

First-quarter of 2012: Replace more than 46,900 feet of URD cable.

The remainder of 2012: Replace more than 38,400 feet of URD cable. Installing four distribution automation devices and tree trimming in eight locations.

Wheaton

First-quarter of 2012: Replace nearly 11,400 feet of URD cable.

The remainder of 2012: Replace more than 14,050 feet of URD cable. Installing four distribution automation devices and tree trimming in 14 locations.

Wheeling

First-quarter of 2012: Replace more than 3,250 feet of URD cable. Lighting enhancement and installing two distribution automation devices.

The remainder of 2012: Replace more than 50,600 feet of URD cable.

Over the course of ComEd’s 10-year grid modernization project, which was approved in October, the utility will spend $1.3 billion on infrastructure and equipment maintenance and upgrades and another $1.3 billion on installing smart meters while digitizing and upgrading the electric grid.

Sources

ComEd Outlines Upgrade Plans for Suburbs, Daily Herald, March 8, 2012.

Significant Electric Grid Modernization Work Coming to ComEd Service Area, ComEd press release, March 8, 2012.

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