ComEd Begins Massive Effort to Rebuild Transmission System in Tornado-Ravaged Areas

Jun 09, 2010, 06:00 ET from ComEd

STREATOR, Ill., June 9 /PRNewswire/ -- ComEd today began a massive construction effort to rebuild its transmission system in the Streator and Dwight areas after a tornado Saturday inflicted the most significant damage on the utility's system in six years.

The company restored all of the nearly 20,000 customers affected by this storm system early Tuesday morning. This includes 8,400 customers directly affected by the tornado, but work to rebuild the transmission system is expected to last multiple weeks. This will include restringing 34 miles of transmission line, replacing six twisted transmission towers and making significant repairs to a seventh tower.

"Our crews did a phenomenal job restoring all customers in just over two days," said ComEd President and Chief Operating Officer Anne Pramaggiore. "We are committed to restoring the system to the same high-level of reliability residents and businesses experienced prior to the tornado."

The extensive destruction in and around Dwight and Streator included uprooted trees, broken poles, and damage to seven transmission towers and two distribution substations that served large portions of the area. More than 100 crews came from as far away a Rockford and Libertyville to work around the clock to replace about 120 poles and 25 miles of overhead power line, and restore all customers to service. However, complex repairs to the transmission towers will require weeks to complete given the severity of the damage and importance of these lines in carrying electricity to millions of customers throughout Illinois and beyond.

When the transmission towers collapsed, this pulled on the transmission lines creating great tension that still exists on the lines. Great care will be needed during reconstruction to avoid the lines pulling on and damaging other towers and lines. Once the damaged towers are rebuilt, ComEd will conduct detailed inspections on all area towers to ensure that they were not affected by the storm.

Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), one of the nation's largest electric utilities with approximately 5.4 million customers and more than $15 billion in annual revenues. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across Northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state's population.