Helping to spark economic development in Illinois, ComEd, in 2020, completed infrastructure improvements that will help bring nearly 6,400 jobs and an investment of more than $2.7 billion to Illinois. These improvements enabled 17 new customer projects that represent 563 megawatts of new committed capacity – a one-year record for ComEd and equivalent to the amount of power required by more than 160,000 homes.
In 2012, ComEd began making investments to transform its energy system to a smart and digital grid. Since then, the stronger and more modern grid has improved reliability and helped to avoid more than 16 million customer interruptions in the communities ComEd serves. But these investments do more than just provide the clean, reliable and affordable electricity that residents expect and the resiliency needed to withstand more frequent extreme weather events - they help to attract new business and foster the growth of existing businesses in the region.
“As we look toward economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize the importance of attracting new businesses, jobs and investment to the state,” said Diana Sharpe, Vice-President of Economic and Workforce Development for ComEd. “We’re proud to be a partner to the state in creating conditions – like reliable electricity at affordable and competitive rates – that attract business growth and recruitment. Further, our grid investments are creating the infrastructure required to support new, job-generating industries like data centers and indoor agriculture.”
"Reliable electric infrastructure is essential to businesses making location decisions, and ComEd's sustained performance improvements set Illinois apart from other states and regions," said Alya Woods, acting CEO and COO of Intersect Illinois, the economic development organization focused on bringing investment and jobs to the state. "Strong utility reliability performance reinforces to businesses that Illinois is the best place for their continued growth."
Like increased reliability, low rates drive business growth. In December, the Illinois Commerce Commission approved ComEd’s request for a $14 million decrease in delivery service charges in 2021 compared to rates in effect in 2020. According to the Edison Electric Institute, ComEd’s average commercial rate (9.90 cents per kilowatt-hour) is 8 percent below the national average and 18 percent below the average for top 20 U.S. metro areas. The average industrial rate is 7.15 cents per kilowatt hour.
“We work closely with the state and industry groups to better understand the trends and needs of businesses looking to build or relocate to Illinois,” said Sharpe. “We are looking at the energy needs, the desire of industries to have access to more clean and sustainable energy on the system, and the ability for business to not only come here, but also expand here as they emerge from the pandemic and we plan for the energy future of the state.”
The technology sector has seen significant growth in Illinois. In a recent report by Cushman and Wakefield, Chicago was listed as the number two city globally for data center growth opportunity based on standards such as low land costs, reliable utilities, and available tax incentives. ComEd has made significant investments in infrastructure to support the needs of these energy-intensive facilities, including, for example, an expanded substation in Itasca, Ill., and another one in Elk Grove Village, Ill., slated to come online later in 2021.
“Our customers trust us and PlatformDIGITAL®, our global data center platform, to help scale their digital business. To meet those obligations and underpin digitally resilient infrastructure, we need reliable energy,” said Rafal Rak, VP Portfolio Management for Digital Realty. “As we sought places to expand our operations, we found northern Illinois an attractive option due to ComEd’s smart grid technology, its impact on making the energy grid more reliable and low energy prices.”
ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), a Fortune 100 energy company with approximately 10 million electricity and natural gas customers – the largest number of customers in the U.S. ComEd powers the lives of more than 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit ComEd.com and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.