ComEd Mobilizes Personnel in Advance of Major Storm

400 crews deployed throughout northern Illinois

Aug 02, 2011, 19:14 ET from ComEd

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CHICAGO, Aug. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- ComEd today mobilized approximately 400 crews in preparation for a powerful storm system that is expected to move through northern Illinois this evening and into the night.

With heavy rain, hail and wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour forecasted, service disruptions are anticipated throughout ComEd's service territory. The storm system also may include intense lightning, which can create surges of electricity that can damage transformers and utility poles and bring down power lines.  

ComEd activated its Emergency Operations Center early this morning in advance of the expected storm and is coordinating response activities with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. The company's deployment of crews includes 30 contractors, with plans to mobilize more than 150 additional crews overnight. The company's storm preparation also includes additional staffing in its customer call center.

"This continues to be an extremely tough summer of storm activity," said Anne Pramaggiore, president and chief operating officer, ComEd. "We are taking every precaution possible to ensure that we have adequate resources available to address our latest bought with Mother Nature's might. Since June 1, our electric system has incurred more than 2.1 million storm-related customer interruptions, which is a record for summer storm activity – and summer is not yet over."

The first major storm forecasted for August follows a July that brought high heat and heavy rains during one of the hottest and wettest Julys ever in Chicago, according to the National Weather Service.

The July rain was part of the weather pattern known as the "Ring of Fire," a term used by meteorologists to describe high pressures centered on the southern and eastern parts of the country that contribute to high temperatures and thunderstorms and linger over a region for an extended period of time. The storm that swept through the ComEd service territory on July 11 was one of the most destructive ever, knocking out power to more than 850,000 customers.

ComEd's restoration process begins with damage assessment, this process enables the company to determine hardest hit areas and factors into restoration times. The company then prioritizes outage restoration to ensure public safety first such as police and fire, then hospitals and other critical customers. Next, ComEd restores feeders, which allows us to return power to large numbers of customers at one time, followed by smaller service restorations and individual outages.

Public safety is paramount during storms and ComEd encourages the public to remember to take the following precautions:

  • If you encounter a downed power line, immediately call ComEd at 1-800-EDISON1 (1-800-334-7661) or access our website at ComEd.com and report the location. Spanish-speaking customers should call 1-800-95-LUCES (1-800-955-8237). Customers also can visit Twitter for restoration updates.
  • Never approach a downed power line. Always assume a power line is energized and extremely dangerous.
  • Check on elderly and other sensitive family members and neighbors to ensure their safety and make alternate arrangements, as it may be some time before their power is restored.

ComEd also offers the following suggestions for customers experiencing a prolonged outage:

  • Turn off all appliances including your furnace, water heater, and water pump.
  • Leave a lamp on so you can know when power has been restored.
  • Keep freezer and refrigerator doors closed and open them only when necessary. Food will stay frozen for 36 to 48 hours in a fully loaded freezer, if the door remains closed. A half-full freezer will generally keep food frozen for 24 hours.
  • Customers who are on medical support equipment are strongly encouraged to evacuate to a place where they can be comfortable and safe.

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. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state's population. 

Customer Contact: 1-800-EDISON-1 (1-800-334-7661)

SOURCE ComEd