ComEd Begins Hiring 2400 Workers for Smart Grid Development

Last week, ComEd President Anne Pramaggiore announced plans to hire 2400 workers to develop Smart Grid in the wake of legislation approved by the Illinois state legislature late last year.

The hiring will begin with 350 to 400 Chicago jobs this year and up to 2,400 over the next decade, Pramaggiore said.

That rosy figure includes 1,000 construction jobs, much of it tied to regular system upgrades. They include putting some power lines underground, shoring up above-ground lines to insulate them from wind and tree damage, making $50 million in improvements at O’Hare and Midway Airports and upgrading the Crawford and Fisk sub-stations.

Another 1,000 jobs will be tied to energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. Annual spending on those projects is expected to increase by at least $40 million or 26.6 percent, under the smart-grid legislation.

Pramaggiore predicted that 150 jobs would be generated by a $22.5 million Science and Energy trust fund created to support “energy innovation entrepreneurs.”

The final 150 jobs will be created by two companies hired by ComEd to support the smart-grid system that will allow consumers to monitor their energy use.

They are: Silver Spring Networks, the Silicon Valley-based company hired to design and deploy the networking platform and communications system and Choctaw-Kaul Distribution, a Native-American owned distributor that will provide Edison with the power tools and protective safety equipment needed to do the work.

“The jobs cover a wide-range of skills: engineers, work planners, construction workers, communications specialists and workers with manufacturing skills,” Pramaggiore told a news conference at the Robert W. Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation at the Illinois Institute of Technology, 10 West 35th St.

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