ComEd Restores More Than 450,000 Customers in First 30 Hours Following Pair of Damaging Friday Storms

More than 550,000 customers affected; majority of remaining outages to be restored by Sunday night

Jun 20, 2010, 00:43 ET from ComEd

CHICAGO, June 20 /PRNewswire/ -- In the first 30 hours, ComEd crews have restored service to more than 450,000 customers who lost power from two powerful storms that swept northern Illinois on Friday. By Sunday night, ComEd expects to have restored power to approximately 90 percent of the more than 550,000 customers affected by the storms.

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All ComEd customers are expected to be restored by Wednesday night. Restoration efforts for these customers are longer because the outages typically either affect small numbers of customers or involve repairs requiring special equipment to be brought in.

ComEd prioritizes outage restoration to ensure public safety first, then hospitals and other critical customers. Next, ComEd restores feeders, which allows it to return power to large numbers of customers at one time, followed by smaller service restorations and individual outages.

As of 9 p.m. Saturday, 104,000 customers remained without power due to a combination of hundreds of downed power lines, scores of broken poles, and damaged electrical equipment throughout the system. Most damaging were lightning and high winds clocked at nearly 40 mph with gusts up to 70 mph.

More than 350 ComEd and contractor crews continue working around the clock to restore customers and repair the electrical system. They have been working shifts of 16 hours on and 8 hours off since the first storm started at 1:30 p.m. Friday. After all customers are restored, crews will then work to make permanent repairs to all equipment.

Public safety is paramount 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-EDISON-1 (1-800-334-7661) and report the location. Spanish-speaking customers should call 1-800-95-LUCES (1-800-955-8237).
  • 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.