Kathleen Maier, external relations manager for Commonwealth Edison, began her presentation to the La Grange village board at Monday night's meeting, by appealing to the community that she understood their frustration.
However, unlike at , no residents turned out to voice that frustration.
Maier, who is also a La Grange resident, said that the storms in June and July this year, were some of the worst the company had ever seen. In particular, she said that the July 11 storm knocked out power to over 850,000 customers. High winds and lightning strikes contributed significantly to the widespread power loss.
Maier cited working from home and banking online as examples of how disrupting a power outage can be for residents, and said ComEd is looking into how to better serve residents in the future.
Smart Meters prove valuable
Maier suggested Smart Meter technology as one tool that ComEd is developing to help them better identify and serve areas during a power outage. In addition to allowing customers to monitor their electricity usage online, Smart Meters also communicate with ComEd to let them know when the power has gone out.
According to the ComEd's website, the service is being tested in nine towns in its Maywood region, which La Grange is a part of. Unfortunately, La Grange is not yet included in the program.
Click here for a Chicago Tribune article on the Smart Meter program.
Had the system been in place area-wide, 200,000 less customers would have been affected, Maier said.
Better communication for residents
Trustee Jeff Nowak said that the chief complaint he was hearing from residents was a lack of good communication with ComEd about how long the outages would last.
"We don't have a good communication system with residents," Maier replied.
She said ComEd was working on providing better information to customers through their website. In the future, residents may be able to receive updates for their own town, instead of area-wide estimations. Currently, Maier said, the company primarily releases information to the village and media about the status of outages.