CHATHAM — The Chatham Business Association and ComEd launched a three-month pilot program that has residents of Chatham and neighboring communities urging customers to install smart meters.
At a news conference Monday at the Chatham Business Association’s headquarters, 800 E. 78th St., the utility introduced 10 new ComEd workers employed through the program.
The digital meters that sends electricity-usage information to the utility company eliminate bills based only on estimates and lower operating costs, ComEd officials said.
Kevin Brookins, ComEd’s senior vice president, said that the smart meters help customers "monitor their [electricity] usage and help with savings." And residents who decline to have them installed will be billed an additional $21.53 a month, a spokesman said.
In one week of the program, the Chatham outreach team was able to contact 903 residences, schedule 45 appointments and eliminate 83 vacant properties from ComEd’s "Unable To Complete" list, said Melinda Kelly, the organization's executive director.
After the three-month period, ComEd will determine if the temporary program will be expanded to other communities, Brookins said.
The Chatham Business Association is assisting with the workforce development component. Applicants were selected out of a pool of 150 last July, Rush said.
“This experience has been really awesome,” said Izetta Robinson, 32, an Auburn Gresham resident.
Kevin Randell, 23, of Woodlawn, said he has had a positive experience with the program so far.
“This was a great fit for me to be in the community and I love working with computers because I went to school for computer technology,” Randell said.
U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) said he pushed ComEd to conduct the pilot program in Chatham to help bring jobs to the South Side.
“I’m very excited to be here because these individuals, who are young men and women, are really proving a point — when you hire from the community, you not only get the job done effectively, but you also enhance the community and that is the message that we carry forth,” he said.
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