ComEd substation goes ‘smart’

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City-_ComEd.jpgComEd offered media, community members, and elected officials, including Ald. Roderick Sawyer, pictured, on a tour of the utility company’s Wallace substation on the South Side. Defender/Rhonda Gillespie

ComEd recently opened its first ever digital substation in the Auburn-Gresham community and elected officials, media and others got a guided tour of the tech-heavy facility.

The Wallace Substation, at 617 W. 81st St., is not new, built nearly 45 years ago, but its “smart” technology is now state-of-the-art. With the use of real-time computers and their data output, the utility company can not only more readily monitor outages but minimize their impact on customers.

The substation upgrade is part of the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act, which includes a 10-year, $2.6 billion ComEd improvement investment.

The facility tourists, including the Defender, donned special flame-retardant jumpsuits and industry hardhats and got a firsthand, upclose look at the technology that is so sophisticated that it offered real-time analysis of transformers, could tell ComEd offiicals and engineers within seconds the general area of outages and could help the utility company pro-actively respond to such things as wildlife on power lines. 

The Wallace Substation is the first of ComEd’s 200 substations to get the new technology. The South Side facility services a total of over 28,000 customers who live in the 6th, 8th, 17th and 21st Wards.

In addition to is technology customer service, the utility company recently announced direct financial assist help for customers. ComEd officials announced this week a $10 million fund that would help people struggling to pay their electric bill.

Customers with a service disconnection notice may be eligible for any one of several hardship programs or a payment plan. With winter over, ComEd announced an end to its disconnection moratorium. Individual customers as well as some organizations could seek assistance with the help programs.

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