ComEd has restored power to all customers affected by the severe storms that raced through Northern Illinois on July 1, according to a press release from the power company.
The violent storms brought winds in excess of 90 miles an hour Sunday afternoon, uprooting trees and knocking out power to more than 300,000 ComEd customers. The last few hundred remaining customers were restored late last night.
On Sunday night, approximately 18,000 ComEd customers in Wheaton had lost their power. Crews to more than half of the total outages by Monday morning, and as of Thursday morning, less than 1,000 customers with outages remained.
More than 400 ComEd crews and 200 utility workers and contractors from a dozen states worked to restore services. The massive restoration effort took the work of more than 2,000 ComEd employees and other utility workers and contractors from a dozen states, according to the release.
“The storm outages could not have come at a worse time, with the extreme heat we are currently experiencing,” said Anne Pramaggiore, president and CEO of ComEd. “Our crews worked in scorching heat through the July 4 holiday with a singular focus in mind—getting customers back to service as quickly and as safely as possible.”
While restorations progressed significantly through Wednesday, July 4, Wheaton officials due to downed trees and power lines at the DuPage County Fairgrounds and along the major parade route on Main Street.
The city's department began collecting tree debris from Wheaton's parkways this week. City Manager Don Rose said in what will be a "multi-week effort," crews will go to every street once to collect debris.
“The ComEd workforce was fully engaged and committed at every level of the organization. Those individuals who weren’t climbing poles to restore service were in neighborhoods going door to door to communicate with our customers,” said Pramaggiore. “At ComEd, storm response is everyone’s job.”
The company leveraged a number of key storm response enhancements, including use of new communications and operations technology, "enhanced" procedures, additional field personnel and improved customer outreach, to quicken storm response, according to the release.
More than 400 customer service representatives were better prepared to handle more than a half million customer calls, and customers were able to use two-way text messaging to report outages and receive updates, as well as report outages on their smart phones via a new mobile application.
Also, a 20 percent increase in the number of first responders who assess storm damage and supervision in the field improved coordination and management of crews.
Regional task force teams were established and mobile incident command centers were set up in a number of the hardest hit communities which allowed operations personnel to target restoration efforts in heavily damaged areas.
The company deployed its state-of-the-art regional mobile command center to a central location in the western suburbs in an effort to bring ComEd closer to customers in the hardest hit areas to optimize restoration efforts. The unit houses 25 ComEd engineers, dispatchers and other key storm response team members and is fully equipped with the latest communications, satellite and video conferencing technology.
ComEd staff were deployed to the Joint Operations Center (JOC) established by DuPage County. The JOC enables ComEd and its municipal partners to operate from a pre-designated location within the community to expedite restoration to public health, life and safety facilities.
Finally, an aggressive grassroots “boots on the street” effort ensured that ComEd employees were in some of the hardest hit areas walking door-to-door, meeting with affected customers, and answering questions.
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