Illinois Project Opens the Door for Non-Utility-Owned Microgrids

Statement from EDF’s Christie Hicks and CUB’s David Kolata

February 28, 2018
Catherine Ittner, (512) 691-3458,
Jim Chilsen, (312) 263-4282,

The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) today approved Commonwealth Edison’s (ComEd) $25-million microgrid project and agreement to create a first-of-its-kind tariff, which will give non-utilities the opportunity to use ComEd’s existing wires to develop microgrids.

In response to concerns raised by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the Citizens Utility Board (CUB), and others, ComEd made many improvements to its original proposal to build a microgrid in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, including that the utility will maximize distributed energy resources like solar panels and will not seek to own those resources. Moreover, ComEd will work with EDF and CUB to develop an innovative tariff that will allow third parties to create and manage localized power grids that can disconnect from the centralized grid, known as microgrids. Utilities have traditionally controlled electricity delivery, but this decision starts the process for new, competitive players to enter the microgrid game.

“As smaller, more resilient power systems, microgrids offer endless possibilities: They can advance the use of clean energy, act as a platform for smart cities, or allow neighbors to share excess power from their rooftop solar. We’re excited about the opportunities that customer-owned microgrids provide, and look forward to working with ComEd to make that future a reality.”

“If we want to achieve a more reliable and affordable energy future, microgrids could potentially be part of the solution. We’re pleased that ComEd has improved its proposal and we look forward to working with the utility and consumer advocates. We want to take full advantage of this opportunity to better learn how cost-effective microgrids can advance clean energy and ultimately improve the lives of electric customers.”

  • David Kolata, Executive Director, Citizens Utility Board

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The Citizens Utility Board is Illinois’ leading nonprofit utility watchdog. Created by the Illinois Legislature, CUB opened its doors in 1984 to represent the interests of residential and small-business utility customers. Since then, it has saved consumers more than $20 billion by helping to block rate hikes and secure refunds. For more information, call CUB’s Consumer Hotline, 1-800-669-5556, or visit its award-winning website,