ComEd Community Energy Assistance Ambassador Program Earns National Recognition

Chartwell Inc. presents ComEd with industry best practices award for program that brought jobs and bill support to low-income communities

ComEd’s work to connect customers in need with bill assistance while also providing temporary, part-time employment to residents from low-income neighborhoods, was recently recognized by utility-industry association Chartwell Inc., one of three awards presented to ComEd and its parent company, Exelon.

ComEd won Chartwell’s 2023 Best Practices Bronze Award in the category of Serving Vulnerable Customers for its Community Energy Assistance Ambassador (CEAA) program. The CEAA program, originally launched in 2020 in response to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, was designed with community-based organization Chatham Business Association (CBA) to increase both education and access to financial assistance options that can help income-eligible customers pay their electric bills, while creating local employment opportunities for this same vulnerable population.

“At ComEd, ensuring all our customers can access safe and reliable electricity is just as important as delivering it,” said Melissa Washington, ComEd’s chief customer officer and senior vice president of customer operations. “It’s important to us that families and businesses know they can turn to us for help from the moment they start electric service and through any changes and hardships they may encounter. It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized by the utility industry for these efforts.”

Since its inception, the CEAA program has provided employment to approximately 300 residents from Chicago’s underserved south and west sides. During the 2022-23 winter season alone, CEAAs reached out to approximately 1,800 families; 27% of whom received a total of more than $59,000 in assistance. This effort contributed to ComEd helping connect more than 87,000 eligible customers to more than $26 million in bill assistance during the first quarter of 2023. For ComEd, this is the largest amount of assistance provided – and second-largest number of customers supported – for any first quarter dating back to at least 2019.

The annual Chartwell Best Practices Awards recognize excellence among electric and gas utilities with respect to customer-oriented projects, programs and service initiatives. Each year, judges, made up of members of Chartwell’s research team, select the best projects for recognition. More than 90 entries were submitted across all six categories for this year’s selection process.

“Chartwell’s Best Practices Awards are truly the mark of excellence in utility service and marketing, and that’s because awards are judged by industry experts,” said Russ Henderson, Director of Research, Chartwell Inc. “It feels like Best Practices Awards submissions get better and better every year, and I think that’s because utilities continue to raise their game in serving their customers. Customer expectations have risen in recent years, and utilities like ComEd keep raising the bar to meet those expectations.”

In developing the CEAA program, ComEd analyzed 40 communities with the lowest median incomes within the areas it serves. Research showed that many low-income customers, despite qualifying for bill-assistance, did not apply for resources that were available to them. To increase education about available resources, ComEd and CBA hired individuals who live and work within these same communities to foster relationships and educate customers about energy assistance programs available.

“I am grateful for ComEd’s trust in CBA to manage the CEAA program,” said Melinda Kelly, CBA chairman and president. “ComEd looks to CBA to collaborate with reputable community organizations and stakeholders so that, together, we can provide the type of education and outreach that helps anyone access the assistance they need.”

Other Chartwell Best Practices Awards

Chartwell also presented ComEd the Gold Customer Service Award for its development of an Email Welcome Series for new and relocating ComEd customers. These customers receive a series of four emails, which begin shortly after their electric service is activated, that provide guidance on the full range of programs and offerings available by ComEd and address questions most frequently asked of customers establishing or moving their electric service. The goal is to proactively address customer needs, boost awareness and participation in programs that help the customer, and lay the foundation for a superior customer service experience.

Exelon earned the Silver Digital Experience Award for the development of its “I Sign Up & Move” (ISUM) program that further simplifies the process for customers establishing a service account or transferring service with each of Exelon’s utilities, including ComEd. The program provides customers with more personalization, autonomy and simplicity in creating and managing their utility accounts. It also streamlines the account-registration process and provides customers with real-time review and edit capabilities for stopping, starting, and moving their electric service. Since its launch, Exelon has increased customer-satisfaction rates and seen a reduction in operational costs.

Visit the Chartwell website for the full list of 2023 Best Practice Award winners.

About ComEd

ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), a Fortune 250 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 and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

About Chatham Business Association

Chatham Business Association is a small business resource center that offers an array of customized services and programs designed to assist businesses. Areas of assistance include expansion and growth through economic development, strategic planning, technical training, business trend workshops, access to capital assistance, effective collaborative marketing programs and government certification. For more information, visit

About Chartwell

Based in Atlanta, Chartwell Inc. is a specialized information provider for the utility industry. We provide strategic research and facilitate issue-targeted forums for collaboration among industry peers. Our wide range of services ensures that our members have access to the best, most timely information available to make their business decisions. For more information, visit


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