ComEd Outlines System and Reliability Improvements in Summer Preparation Meeting with Chicago City Council

New online and mobile tools offer greater benefits to customers

Jun 05, 2013, 10:36 ET from ComEd


CHICAGO, June 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ComEd officials met with members of the Chicago City Council Committee on Health and Environmental Protection to provide an update on improvements made to the electrical system in the City of Chicago.  ComEd has added new technologies and infrastructure improvements to improve reliability and customer communication tools to report outages and receive updates.

ComEd officials noted that, when compared to a historic five-year mean, Chicago customers experienced 16 percent fewer outages in 2012.  Outages also were 30 percent shorter.

"Despite the increasing intensity of storms and heat waves hitting our region and the nation, we have committed to limiting the number of outages and restoring power as quickly as possible," said Terence R. Donnelly, executive vice president and chief operating officer, ComEd. "As part of the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA) legislation, ComEd is committed to reduce the system frequency of outages by 20 percent and the system duration of outages by 15 percent over ten years."

ComEd outlined system improvements made in Chicago in 2012 as well as upgrades planned for 2013, which include:

  • Refurbishing more than 4,200 manholes;
  • Replacing more than 60 miles of underground cable;
  • Inspecting 28,000 wood poles; and
  • Installing 167 distribution automation devices

Distribution automation, or "smart switches," route power around potential problem areas, often with no noticeable interruption in service.  Installation of these devices resulted in more than 133,000 fewer customer interruptions in 2012 in Chicago. During the severe storms that hit the Chicago area in mid-April 2013, smart switches prevented 3,300 service interruptions in the city.

Last year, ComEd enhanced more than 60 storm response processes that resulted in improved restoration time during major storms.  In 2013, the utility has started a second wave of storm process improvements to build on its success in 2012.  Areas of focus include:

  • Improving material delivery (poles, cable, transformers, etc) to  reduce travel times
  • Enhancing crew logistics to ensure improved response times
  • Automating damage assessment tools, and exploring new technology  to improve the accuracy of estimated restoration times; and
  • Providing more wire watchers to relieve police and fire department personnel from being stationed near downed wires.

The utility also detailed several new communications and outage reporting tools for customers.  Customers can report an outage by texting OUT to 26633 (COMED), using a smart phone mobile app, or going to ComEd's Facebook page,, or ComEd's website at These channels also provide outage restoration information. Customers also can follow ComEd on Twitter (@ComEd) or on Facebook to stay up to date on the latest information. ComEd's new communications tools were recognized as among the best in the utility industry by J.D. Power and Associates.

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.