Agreements Create Economic Opportunity While Supporting Chicago’s Climate Action Plan
Building on a strong, 100-year history, the City of Chicago and ComEd today announced that a deal has been reached on a pair of agreements for the future - an Energy and Equity Agreement and a new franchise agreement. These agreements, working together, will help Chicago support equitable access to cleaner energy; expand workforce development initiatives, including in under resourced communities; expand clean transportation options; and provide tools that empower Chicago families and businesses to reduce energy use and save money, while enabling ComEd to continue to provide industry-leading service to its customers in Chicago. The agreements also dovetail with ComEd’s proposed multi-year plans designed to support broader economic, equity and environmental goals. Both agreements will extend for a term of 15 years plus the option of a five-year extension and are subject to approval by the Chicago City Council and Boards of ComEd and Exelon.
“These agreements, which will work together, are a win-win for Chicago and its residents, as they will help advance the city’s Climate Action Plan and invest in an equitable transition to a cleaner, healthier energy future for Chicago’s families and businesses,” said Gil Quiniones, CEO of ComEd. “ComEd greatly values our century-long partnership with the City of Chicago, and we look forward to continuing to provide Chicago and its residents with record-breaking reliability that supports equitable job creation and economic development.”
The Energy and Equity Agreement will support the city’s goals of promoting clean energy, cleaner air, and a healthy environment for all Chicago residents and communities by enabling and investing in renewable energy and the electrification of transportation to bring the benefits of new energy technologies to as many people as possible. It provides, among other things, for the creation and funding of a new non-profit entity – the Clean Energy & Equity Collaborative – that will invest up to $120 million in neighborhood clean and equitable energy initiatives, to be paid for by ComEd shareholder – not customer – funds.
"I am proud to announce this nation-leading Franchise Agreement and Energy and Equity Agreement, which will ensure the ongoing reliability of our electricity grid and accelerate an equitable transition to clean, renewable energy in all 77 communities," said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. "This is big win for Chicago, as the agreement includes up to $120 million in ComEd shareholder funds to support local climate action projects, a commitment to train more than 10,000 Chicagoans for careers in the energy sector, and meaningful improvements in coordination and local accountability with the utility."
The agreements offer a variety of environmental, public health and financial benefits, some of which include:
Investments to enable cleaner energy resources & combat climate change
To expand access to renewable energy, ComEd will access state funding to place rooftop solar on up to 200 low-income homes in disadvantaged communities each year, for a total of up to 4,000 homes over the term of the agreement, at no cost to the customer through the Illinois Solar for All program. Participating homes will see an annual reduction in their electric bills and generate clean, green, and environmentally-friendly energy.
To support the city’s goal to achieve 100 percent clean renewable energy by 2035, ComEd will leverage its solar-ready site within the Bronzeville Community Microgrid footprint to allow the city to add up to 200kW of solar power to the city-owned renewable energy portfolio.
Enhanced job training programs
ComEd will seek approval from its regulator, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), to construct and operate a $32.5 million Clean Energy Training Hub, to be located on Chicago’s West side, to prepare, train and re-skill 10,000 residents for careers at ComEd or other companies supporting the clean energy transition. Future eligible participants will receive tuition assistance and a stipend for wrap-around services like tools, transportation, housing and childcare.
Under the agreement, ComEd will also ensure that Chicago residents will comprise 35 percent of future CONSTRUCT Infrastructure Academy classes. Over the last 10 years, CONSTRUCT has provided skills training to help more than 700 diverse participants prepare for careers in the skilled trades – with more than 70 percent of graduates placed into jobs. Additionally, ComEd will offer full scholarships to 10 CONSTRUCT graduates each year for 10 years to attend Dawson Technical Institute’s Overhead Electrical Line Worker training program.
Building on its collaboration with Chicago Public Schools (CPS), ComEd will invest $3.2 million in the Chicago Builds program, a two-year off-campus construction training program for CPS juniors and seniors interested in pursuing a career in construction after graduating high school. The funding will support the program’s expansion to a second school on the west side of Chicago.
ComEd will also provide 10 trades-related ComEd internships per year for 10 years to Chicago high school students.
Local hiring and MWBE commitments
Over the term of the agreement, each year, 35 percent of new entry-level field trades roles and 20 percent of new customer service roles at ComEd will be filled by Chicago residents from equity investment eligible communities (EIEC) or socio-economically disadvantaged area (SEDA) communities. This would equate to approximately 1,000 jobs over the term of the agreement based on historical ComEd hiring patterns.
To support minority and women-owned businesses (MWBE), the agreement sets participation goals for the total contract value for the design, construction and/or rehab of ComEd utility facilities owned by ComEd in Chicago at 32 percent for minority-owned business and 10 percent for women-owned business contracts.
The agreement also establishes a framework under which the city can elect to apply a local hiring requirement of 50 percent worker hours from Chicago residents to non-grid work for the Clean Energy Training Hub. For other large projects, the city may elect to apply to non-grid work a local hiring requirement of 20 percent worker hours from Chicago residents.
Innovation to strengthen communities
ComEd will seek federal funding to create a Community Resiliency Hub – a first-of-its kind pilot to promote and study new technologies to advance decarbonization. The hubs will explore elements of electric vehicle charging, battery storage, grid infrastructure upgrades, advanced communications network, community partnerships and workforce development, among other topics.
Tools to help families and businesses reduce energy use and save money
ComEd will invest $24 million in energy efficiency weatherization strategies that will lead to lower energy usage and lower energy costs for single-family and multi-unit households in under resourced communities. This funding is estimated to aid nearly 4,900 low to median income households; a typical household will save up to $941 each year. Over the life of the weatherization measures, approximately 460 million pounds of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will be avoided.
A pilot to provide affordable broadband access
By leveraging hundreds of miles of its reserve capacity fiber assets, ComEd would enable internet service providers (ISPs) to bring fast, reliable, affordable broadband infrastructure to communities across Chicago that have limited access to high-speed internet. ComEd will work partner with the city to seek applicable federal, state and other sources of funding to advance broadband expansion efforts.
Enhanced transparency and coordination
Under the agreement, a City-ComEd Coordination Council will be created to enhance collaboration and communication to resolve critical infrastructure issues; coordinate electrification and decarbonization activities and investments; pursue federal, state and private funding sources to advance the Energy and Equity Agreement; monitor reliability and affordability data; and coordinate updates to the City Council.
A community advisory panel would also be created to provide community feedback and input on the implementation of clean energy and electrification projects. The panel would include representatives from the city and ComEd along with local community, environmental and other stakeholder groups.
Superior reliability and value
Chicago residents receive superior reliability and value from ComEd, and the agreements will allow ComEd to continue to deliver this outstanding service. ComEd customers today enjoy record-breaking, nation-leading reliability because of prudent and necessary grid investments. Further, ComEd’s average total monthly residential customer bill of $93 is among the lowest in the nation, and approximately 20 percent lower than the average in the 10 largest metropolitan areas. In addition, ComEd’s historical grid investments have enabled ComEd to deliver a variety of programs that have delivered more than $8 billion in savings to customers by enabling them to use less electricity more efficiently.
ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), a Fortune 200 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
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