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ComEd Outlines Reliability Initiatives and Customer Commitment; Reacts to Severe Weather Issues

Wed June 06 2012 11:54 am
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City Council Briefed on Substantial New Investment To Improve Reliability And Customer Service

CHICAGO (June 5, 2012) — At their annual appearance before the Chicago City Council Committee on Health and Environmental Protection, ComEd officials Tuesday provided aldermen with an update on steps the utility has taken to improve reliability, respond to extreme weather, improve customer relationships and strengthen its commitment to the communities it serves.

“Since last year’s severe storms, we have intensified work to strengthen our system, improve restoration times and better communicate with customers,” said Terence R. Donnelly, executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Investments we have made in our electric system will mean reliability improvements going forward.”

ComEd officials outlined new storm response processes that include a 20 percent increase in the number of first-responders and first line supervisors available for storm field support and a state-of-the-art regional mobile command center to optimize restoration efforts. Additionally ComEd has:

• Increased its customer service center’s call volume capacity.

• Strengthened its municipal outreach communications to work more effectively with local officials on several fronts — for example, identifying and prioritizing life safety facilities for restoration and providing timely information about local storm restoration progress.

• Expanded GPS deployment across its entire mobile dispatch fleet to strengthen coordination of resources, allowing more effective storm restoration for customers.

• Provided all first responders with new mobile dispatch units to improve connectivity between field teams and central dispatch centers.

• Added new generators to its inventory to support emergency restoration needs. This will allow ComEd to provide power to more high-priority facilities while repairs to damaged wires are under way.

• Created special regional task force teams to restore areas with catastrophic damage.

These “incident command” teams will be fully equipped with field and technical personnel and the tools required for targeted restoration of areas with heavy damage.

Also discussed were the ways ComEd is putting technology to work to deliver greater value to customers including two-way text messaging that allows customers to text their outage to ComEd and get restoration information in response; a mobile application for smart phones to provide outage reporting and status and an interactive map on where customers can check outages in their neighborhoods and get restoration status. Customers also have the ability to share and compare their energy use with friends on Facebook with a social energy app that is designed to provide them with a better sense of their energy usage.

The app (ComEd Apple iPhone/Android app) has several bad reviews regarding difficulty logging in, and criticism for still charging the convenience fee, as exists with phone payments.

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