ComEd Enlists Help of Customers to Save Energy

Commonwealth Edison Co. (ComEd) of Chicago recently launched a yearlong "12 Ways to Green" campaign to raise awareness about energy efficiency and other environmental initiatives, following Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) approval of a new portfolio of energy efficiency measures that could save customers $155 million during the lifetime of the programs.

ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corp., one of the nation's largest electric utilities with approximately 5.4 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across Northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state's population.

The ICC released a final order supporting the energy efficiency programs, which will launch in June. If three-year targets are met, ComEd customers would reduce their electricity consumption by a cumulative amount of about 1.2 million megawatt-hours (MWh). This would equal the amount of electricity needed to power about 140,000 homes for one year. These programs could place ComEd among the top three utilities in the nation within a few years, in terms of annual electricity savings achieved through energy efficiency.

The campaign will educate customers on ways they can conserve energy, save money and benefit the environment. About once a month, ComEd will launch new environmental initiatives through the media, in customer newsletters and a Web site.

If ComEd customers follow the 12 Ways to Green, they could reduce their annual carbon footprint by about 4,000 pounds each. For every three individuals who reduce their carbon footprint, an equivalent of one car will be removed from the road.

"Rising energy prices and global climate change are issues we all face," said Anne Pramaggiore, ComEd executive vice president of Customer Operations, External and Regulatory Affairs. "We are working to provide our customers with the information and tools necessary to take control of their energy bills and reduce their environmental impact."

"This law has become a model for Midwestern states interested in becoming more energy efficient," Harmon said. "Many are aiming to match our target of reducing electric usage by 2 percent by 2015."

Here's a summary of the programs approved by the ICC:

• Residential lighting. The lighting program offers customers instant incentives when they purchase compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and qualifying specialty lamps. If a customer replaces six incandescent bulbs with CFLs in high-use areas, they can save about 4 percent on their monthly bills. For an average residential customer with a monthly bill of $75, that amounts to about $3 in savings per month.

• Appliance recycling. Residential customers receive financial incentives for turning in inefficient air conditioners and secondary refrigerators and freezers.

• Residential multi-family "All-Electric" Sweep. This program provides incentives to contractors to install electricity-saving measures in apartment and condominium units that use electricity for heating. These measures could include new hot water heater wraps, pipe insulation, low-flow showerheads, CFLs, and high-efficiency clothes washers and dryers in common areas.

• Nature First Demand Response. ComEd will increase participation in this program, in which customers elect to have their central air conditioner compressors turned off and on during periods of high-priced electricity to earn bill credits. More than 55,000 customers currently are enrolled, and receiving bill credits up to $10 per month in the four summer months.

Business Solutions

• Commercial and industrial prescriptive. This program would provide businesses a menu of pre-approved, environmentally friendly lighting, motors, HVAC equipment and chillers. Commercial and industrial customers would receive an incentive from ComEd for the implementation of these technologies.

• Commercial and industrial custom incentives. Businesses would apply for incentives for more complex projects, such as industrial processes, that provide energy efficiency savings. Applications would show an estimate of proposed savings and require a ComEd engineering review.

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