Frequently asked questions

Expand All | Collapse All

Accuracy

Just like traditional meters, smart meters are more than 99.5 percent accurate. ComEd regularly tests meters for accuracy and reports the findings to the Illinois Commerce Commission. In addition, every smart meter is tested before installation by the meter manufacturer in the factory, and the factory's testing facility has been inspected by the Illinois Commerce Commission. Lastly, ComEd tests a sample of meters for accuracy from every meter shipment received from the manufacturer.

Smart meters are very accurate, so a higher bill likely is related to higher usage. As we begin to experience warmer weather, which leads to greater power usage to cool homes with air conditioning and fans, smart meters will help customers manage their electricity usage and help control their bills.

Steps to conserve and reduce energy, no matter how small, will help reduce your energy usage and your monthly bill. Visit ComEd.com/SmartIdeas for energy efficiency tips.

Your monthly bill is directly linked to how much energy you use. Steps to conserve and reduce energy usage, no matter how small, will help reduce your monthly bill. Smart meter customers can access daily usage information, up to the previous day, as well as take advantage of a number of tips to help reduce usage. Tips can include things as simple as changing out incandescent bulbs with more efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs, to those more involved, such as installing weather-stripping, caulking windows and doorway seals, and/or adding insulation. Each step, large or small, will have an impact on your overall bill.

We understand that these have been tough economic times. For those who have fallen on economic hardship, ComEd has several options for customers having difficulty paying. You can find details of these programs at ComEd.com in the Customer Service Assistance Programs section.

Customer Impact

ComEd customer services representatives can view your actual usage data, and answer questions about power status and billing, without having to wait for a technician to visit your home/business.

The information will also allow ComEd to begin assessing the potential operational, environmental and other benefits of smart meters for all ComEd customers.

One of the benefits of a smart meter system is that the meters provide hourly usage information. This information will be available the following day. If customers do not have Internet access at home, they can use public computers at libraries, schools or other locations.

No, ComEd billing and payment plans will not be affected in any way by the deployment of smart meters.

By utilizing a pilot approach including a portion of ComEd's service territory, ComEd can carefully evaluate the technology, assess how these systems will interact with our electric distribution operations and gain a best estimate of future costs and benefits.

The additional charge for the smart meter program is expected to continue into 2011, as approved by the Illinois Commerce Commission.

Security

Cyber security has been a cornerstone of ComEd's Smart Grid strategy from the project's inception in early 2008. While we do not provide detailed information regarding our system security, ComEd takes system security seriously and is committed to providing end-to-end security to protect customer information and the reliability of the electricity distribution system.

If the meter is accessible, you will not need to be home. ComEd meter readers will leave door-hangers with information to let you know they've been to your residence. If the meter is inaccessible, after two attempts ComEd will contact you to schedule an appointment.

The smart meter network is built around device authentication. Each smart meter is given a set of three credentials at the time of manufacture, which compose its unique cyber identity. These credentials never change throughout the lifetime of the device and are used to authenticate the device and its data at the time of billing, making sure a customer is being billed from the correct meter.

A significant amount of technical security is in place to ensure that outsiders cannot access the network. The ComEd smart meter system architecture is a four-tier model that secures data from the meter to our main data center. Each of the four tiers applies controls that are designed to secure information through each communications step. 

ComEd is strongly committed to protecting the privacy of all customers. The Smart Meter program builds upon our long-standing adherence and successful implementation of strict privacy standards for all customer information. ComEd does not disclose any personal information about our customers without prior approval, except as required by law and regulation. 

Smart Meter

A smart meter is an advanced digital electric meter. It collects information about how much energy you use every 30 minutes and sends it to ComEd through a wireless connection.

A smart meter system is a building block for a Smart Grid system, which will deliver electricity to customers integrating digital technology. Smart Grid technologies can act as a means of modernizing electrical systems, reducing costs, saving energy, protecting the environment, increasing reliability and providing customers with more timely usage and cost information.

Wireless Networks

In some cases, customers with old style, analog baby monitors that utilize the 900MHz frequency band have experienced interference.  If a customer is experiencing interference with an older style baby monitor, ComEd suggests unplugging base unit or the receiver and plugging it into another outlet, essentially moving it to a location that is further away from the smart meter.  If moving outlets does not resolve the interference, ComEd will work with the customer to identify an appropriate solution.

Yes.  As a result of smart meter technology, ComEd will now be able to remotely connect and disconnect service to customers with smart meters. This will allow us to more quickly suspend and restore service when customers move.