Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, subsidiaries of WEC Energy Group, are working together with ComEd, an energy provider, to share ComEd’s Itron advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) network to streamline natural gas meter reading to create efficiency.
Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas serve more than 1 million customers in the greater Chicago area and will benefit from secure access to ComEd’s existing industrial IoT (IIoT) network. As a result, there is no need to build a separate, single-purpose network. ComEd is an energy provider to more than 4 million customers.
This collaboration marks a significant partnership between two large investor-owned utilities to share the same network infrastructure across common service territories. Up to now, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas have read their customers’ meters by driving a vehicle down every street and transmitting data from each meter via radio signal.
Itron advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) will significantly reduce utility vehicles from the street, eliminating more than 580,000 driving miles per year and 626 tons of carbon emissions per year. The estimated $5.5 million per year cost savings from the reduced driving and other efficiencies will more than offset the cost of AMI.
Customers of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas will gain better visibility into their energy consumption thanks to more frequent access to meter data.
“The smart grid and advanced metering infrastructure are delivering benefits not only for ComEd customers but for other Illinois utilities, and we’re eager to demonstrate the value of these investments to the customers we share with Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas,” said Terence Donnelly, president and COO at ComEd.
“Using AMI will reduce costs for customers and enhance our level of service,” said Torrence Hinton, president at Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas. “Combined with the environmental benefits, this is a great step forward for everyone we serve, and across the Chicago region.”
“The state of Illinois is emerging as a model for AMI and for other utilities on how innovative networked solutions can be leveraged to reach sustainability, operational goals and deliver end customer benefits,” said John Marcolini, senior vice president of Networks at Itron.
In the coming years, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas will upgrade 1 million endpoints to make them compatible with the ComEd IIoT network.