As part of ComEd's ongoing efforts to improve service to customers and enhance its storm restoration process, the company today hosted a best practices symposium in Chicago. The two-day event focused on optimizing restoration during major events and drew 36 executives from 16 utilities around the country to discuss the solutions that have proven effective for other utilities.
"Whether it is the tornados in Oklahoma, destructive hurricanes such as Superstorm Sandy, or severe thunderstorms that knock out power to hundreds of thousands of customers, recent events have demonstrated the need to be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws our way," said Tyler Anthony, senior vice president of Distribution Operations, ComEd. "In the past two years, ComEd has transformed the way we recover from severe storms and, most importantly, helped better serve our customers."
The event is designed to share best practices among leading utilities – including those recognized by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) for excellent storm response efforts – to help enhance operational performance and customer service. High-level discussion topics will include:
- Managing operations during major events
- Mutual assistance
- Emergency preparedness
- Collaboration among key stakeholders
Since 2011 when the worst storms in ComEd history struck Northern Illinois, the company formed a storm improvement taskforce and implemented approximately 60 enhancements that helped provide a significant improvement in storm restoration times in major storms last summer. For example, ComEd added: more first responders; a state-of-the-art mobile command center to deploy to hardest-hit areas; and customer service enhancements such as the interactive online outage map, mobile application for smart phones, mobile-enabled website, and two-way text messaging, which were identified as a "best practice" for utilities by J.D. Power. ComEd was selected as the winner of the EEI 2012 Emergency Recovery Award for its outstanding recovery from a July storm (July 1 derecho). ComEd was also selected for the Emergency Assistance Award for its mutual assistance support in the recovery from Hurricane Sandy.
On Thursday, ComEd will lead a first-ever statewide emergency drill with more than 30 government agencies and companies to better prepare and train for restoration in the event of a "worst-case" weather event in Illinois.