ComEd Has New Plan for Major Outages

More than 800,000 people were without power for several days last summer

With hopes they'll be able to avoid the long outages customers received last summer, Commonwealth Edison officials on Wednesday said they'll create more than a dozen regional "joint operation centers" during major service interruptions.

Those JOCs will be triggered during outages lasting more than three hours, and staff will work with emergency management teams around the clock to restore power to health and safety facilities first.

"They'll work on a set of municipal priorities to be able to get that municipality up and running as quickly as possible," said ComEd spokesman Michael McMahan. "By getting municipality infrastructure restored and up and running, that frees up resources and lets us get to the individual customers that much faster."

Last July, a record 863,000 people in the northwest suburbs were without power after storms downed trees and brought down power lines. It took about a week before life in those areas was back to normal.

Officials said last season's 1.6 million outages was the most they'd ever had.

In addition, ComEd has planned several technology improvements to allow for quicker response
times and improved customer service. From a ComEd press release:

  • A smart phone application to report service interruptions and pay bills online, available in the coming months;
  • A newly acquired, $1 million state-of-the-art regional mobile command center. This command center can be deployed to the worst-hit areas in a storm, bringing ComEd closer to its customers in times of severe weather and damage to the system;
  • A responsive text-messaging system to report outages and receive service updates; and
  • A revamp of the annual report summaries provided to municipalities.
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