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Smart Grid Plan to Add 2,400 Chicago Jobs

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel and ComEd execs announced the $1.1 billion Smart Grid changeover would bring 2,400 jobs to Chicago, including 350-400 this year.

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What Gov. Pat Quinn once hated, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is loving.

Commonwealth Edison's once-controversial Smart Grid plan is expected to bring 2,400 jobs to Chicago, including 350-400 this year, Emanuel announced Wednesday alongside ComEd execs.

The plan to modernize Illinois' power grid was a touchy one last year for Quinn, who vetoed the proposal in September because it would raise utility rates.

"We're the government of the people, and I don't think people are for this," Quinn said at the time. "I want to make it clear to the public that they should not be gouged ... by something they don't feel is providing better service."

In the end, Quinn recently approved tweaks to the legislation, and a $2.6 billion electric system infrastructure investment plan begins this year.

Emanuel sees it as a huge opportunity for Chicago.

“We’re modernizing Chicago’s electric infrastructure and building a Smart Grid that will bring significant economic opportunity for the City," Emanuel said, "adding jobs and creating new facilities that will train Chicagoans to contribute to Chicago’s growing green economy and help Chicago families save money on electricity."

The jobs, he said, will be wide-ranging and in the end, the plan will help residents save money, he said.

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