Illinois energy utility Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) says its smart grid program has beaten the targets set for job creation in 2013, supporting a total of 2,871 full-time positions.
The positions included nearly 1,000 full-time jobs at the utility and its contractors as well as more than 1,800 roles it says were created “indirectly”.
ComEd (Chicago, IL, USA) has been under pressure to demonstrate the benefits of its investment in a smart-grid rollout and submitted the findings on job creation to the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) – in a grid modernization progress report – earlier this month.
The utility said the creation of indirect jobs was a “ripple effect” of its $253 million in capital spending in 2013.
Through its smart-grid deployment, it is looking to improve system reliability and reduce outages through the introduction of approximately four million smart meters across the state.
“From the very beginning of this program, one of our main objectives has been to create good-paying jobs across our service area, and we’re very excited to report that we’re exceeding the goals established by the Illinois General Assembly when it passed this important legislation,” said Anne Pramaggiore, the president and CEO of ComEd.
“We also have submitted a plan to accelerate the installation of smart meters this summer so we anticipate that this significant investment and expansive work under the smart grid program will remain a strong driver of economic growth for some time to come,” she added.
If the ICC approves its new plan, ComEd claims it will be able to complete the installation of more than four million smart meters by 2018, ahead of the currently scheduled date of 2021.
By completing the deployment three years earlier than originally planned, ComEd expects to save customers an extra $170 million through new pricing programs and by giving them more control over energy consumption and costs.
Legislation introduced in 2011 authorized ComEd to invest $2.6 billion over a ten-year period in the modernization of its infrastructure – with more than $1.3 billion earmarked for the construction of a smart-grid network and associated rollout of smart meters.