In the wake of a devastating storm that knocked out power to nearly a quarter of its customers in the Chicaog area Monday morning, ComEd today announced that it had restored power to 77 percent of customers as of early Wednesday morning. ComEd restored power to nearly half a million customers in the first 24 hours after the storm's aftermath and expects to have 90 percent of affected customers restored by midnight on Thursday and 99 percent restored by midnight on Friday.
"We know how disruptive power outages can be for our customers' lives and livelihoods," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Frank M. Clark. "We will use all available resources in order to shorten the outage duration for customers remaining without power."
Working day and night, ComEd restored approximately 675,000 customers as of 6 a.m. today. More than 850,000 customers have been affected, making this one of the worst storm in terms of damage and customer impact, in the company's history.
Remarkable in its brevity and force, the storm brought 18,000 lightning strikes and wind gusts of 80 mph causing extensive tree damage and bringing down power lines. The resulting outages are more difficult and time consuming to restore as they involve attention to more individualized equipment.
"Our crews have done an amazing job in swiftly restoring nearly half a million customers in just over 24 hours," said Anne Pramaggiore, president and chief operating officer, ComEd. "The crews are working on 16-hours shifts and throughout the night to restore power as quickly and safely as possible."
ComEd currently has approximately 700 crews in the field including mutual support from utilities in Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Additional crews arrived today from Alabama, Florida, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee. More crews from Alabama and Georgia are expected to arrive over the next couple of days with the number of non-ComEd crews peaking at 370 on Friday.
The company also has enlisted additional staffing and an outside service to manage the large volume of calls experienced by the customer call center. Customers also can visit ComEd.com to report outages and follow us on Twitter 24/7 to obtain system status information.
The largest number of outages is located in the company's northern and western regions. ComEd is working closely with municipal officials and businesses to provide ongoing updates to them regarding restoration efforts. ComEd has dedicated regional crews to downed wires, traffic signals and other municipal priorities. Hardest hit towns are Waukegan, Gurnee, Crystal Lake and Round Lake Beach.
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.