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New CEO powers up plans for ComEd’s digital future

ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore visits with member Rick Slocum after making presentatinew energy technology Wednesday AurorRegional Chamber Commerce.
Mary Beth Nolan~For

ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore visits with member Rick Slocum after making a presentation on new energy technology Wednesday at the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce. Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 19, 2012 10:44AM

The world is in the midst of a technology and information revolution, and one major Illinois power company wants to be at the forefront.

That was the message from ComEd CEO Ann Pramagiorre, as she spoke to business owners and elected officials at a gathering of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce Wednesday afternoon at the Fox Valley Country Club in North Aurora.

ComEd needs to be able to keep up with the major changes in technology, Pramagiorre emphasized.

“It’s time for this industry to join the digital world,” she said.

Pramagiorre, who joined ComEd in 1998 to help the company transition into an open and competitive energy market, began her tenure as CEO in February of 2012.

Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner praised Pramagiorre in his introduction to the chamber. He said she contacted the city in her first days as CEO, asking what the company could do to improve.

“She’s been so responsive,” he said.

Much of the groundwork for improving the way that power is distributed has already been laid, Pramagiorre said.

There already is a competitive energy market in the area. This gives municipalities the ability to buy power through cheaper brokers, and have it distributed through the ComEd infrastructure. Aurora recently took advantage of such a program, allowing residents to save as much as 25 percent on their bills.

ComEd is also working on improving the power infrastructure in the area, she said. This includes a mixture of refurbishing existing infrastructure and adding new cable and poles.

“Our job is to create the infrastructure that allows you to do what you need to do,” she said.

They are also working on ways to reduce outages and limit down times by using more modern technology to monitor the status of transformers, and power to homes on the grid.

This will allow the company to be more efficient with the usage of field technicians, who often have to drive long periods of time, for trips that aren’t always necessary, she said.

The company is working on ways for customers to be able to make better usage decisions based on pricing in the markets, a reduction of usage during peek hours, and being able to utilize solar power from rooftops.

Pramagiorre also said ComEd is working to stay in better communication with customers, including opening up texting, Twitter, Facebook and phone apps as ways for customers to stay in contact.

“We’ll also communicate back to you,” she said.

Improvements to the power infrastructure will also mean local jobs and partnerships with other Illinois businesses, she added.

“We have a great roadmap but we have to finish the journey,” she said.

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