CHICAGO, Dec. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As the first winter storm of the season begins to exit the Chicago area, ComEd expects to restore electric service to the majority of customers affected by the storm late this evening with small pockets of isolated damage being restored tomorrow. ComEd has already restored more than 91,000 customers who experienced power outages as a result of the snow and wind storm that struck ComEd's western region on Thursday evening.
Heavy, wet snow and high winds of up to 45 miles per hour damaged trees and downed power lines, causing power outages in the western and southern parts of ComEd's service territory, with the far western communities of Dixon, Freeport and Rockford among the hardest-hit. ComEd crews are having difficulty reaching damaged infrastructure because of extremely poor driving conditions.
"We understand the challenges our customers experience when they have a power outage, especially during the holiday season," said Terence Donnelly, executive vice president and chief operating officer, ComEd. "We have more than 600 crews, from ComEd and other utilities and contractors, working around the clock to restore service to customers as quickly and safely as possible."Since 2011, ComEd has completed more than 500 storm-hardening projects and made more than 60 improvements to its storm restoration process to improve communications and customer service, including:
- Provided a two-way text messaging system that allows customers to report their outages to ComEd by text and enables the utility to text restoration information back to customers;
- Added a $1-million state-of-the-art regional mobile command center, equipped with the latest communications, satellite and video conferencing technology that can be deployed to hardest-hit areas;
- Strengthened municipal outreach communications to work more effectively with local officials on several fronts, such as identifying and prioritizing life safety facilities for restoration and providing timely information about local storm restoration progress;
- Increased by 20 percent the number of first-responders and first-line supervisors available for storm field support;
- Expanded GPS deployment across the utility's mobile dispatch fleet to strengthen coordination of resources;
- Increased capacity for handling customer calls in the customer service center;
- Added new generators to its inventory to support emergency restoration needs, allowing ComEd to provide power to more high-priority facilities while repairs are under way.