CHICAGO, Nov. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With the official start of winter only a few weeks away, ComEd has taken steps to ensure the electric grid – and customers – are ready for whatever the season brings. ComEd has prepared for high winds, ice and snow, including conducting inspections and preventive maintenance for thousands of miles of power lines and more than 850 substations. Over the last 10 years, the company has invested more than $9 billion in the electrical grid in Illinois to improve reliability for customers.
"ComEd is making significant investments in its electrical system to reduce the frequency and duration of power outages, in winter and all year round," said Anne Pramaggiore, ComEd president and CEO. "ComEd also encourages customers to take simple, low-cost steps that can produce annual savings. We also have millions of dollars in bill-payment assistance still available for customers most in need."
"We are urging Chicagoans to keep themselves safe and warm this winter season and be sure to check in on any vulnerable or elderly neighbors. Small precautionary steps can save lives," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "The City of Chicago, its sister agencies and its partners - like ComEd – will work together around the clock this winter to keep the Windy City's streets clear, our homes warm and people safe."
ComEd also offers the following tips to help customers safely prepare their homes for winter weather, manage their energy usage and reduce electricity costs.
- Inspect the caulking and weather-stripping around all windows, doors and openings for utility services, replacing as necessary. Making these improvements could result in savings of up to 20 percent on annual heating bills.
- Have home heating systems cleaned and inspected by a professional each year to ensure safety and optimum efficiency. Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure proper functioning.
- Keep three feet of space between space heaters and any surfaces that could burn, including walls and bedding. Choose space heaters with automatic shut-off in case they tip over.
- Reverse the rotation of ceiling fan blades, which should spin clockwise at low speed during the winter months, so the warm air that has risen can be re-distributed around the room.
- Visit ComEd.com and select "Use My Energy Tools" beneath the "My Usage" tab. Customers can evaluate past energy usage and learn about more ways to keep their homes energy efficient.
ComEd encourages customers to explore any opportunities to save money on their bills, whether that's through energy efficiency measures or shopping with an alternative supplier.
ComEd also wants to help its customers who may be struggling to pay their electricity bills. The company offers financial assistance programs for customers who qualify, including: Residential Special Hardship grants, C.H.A.M.P. (ComEd Helps Active Military Personnel) and Non-Profit Special Hardship programs, while funds are available. ComEd also offers gift certificates in time for the holiday season so customers can help friends or family members pay their bills.
For more information about these and other programs, customers in Chicago and Cook County can call 1-800-571-2332. More contact information by county is available at ComEd.com/CARE or by phone at 1-888-806-CARE (2273).
Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation's leading competitive energy provider, with approximately 6.6 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state's population.