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Utility truck sightings brought cheer to those who didn’t have power

A ComEd worker restores power home Ridge Street Saturday June 30 2012 after strong thunderstorm knocked down large trees damage

A ComEd worker restores power to a home on Ridge Street on Saturday, June 30, 2012 after a strong thunderstorm knocked down large trees and damage powerlines Friday night in neighborhoods near downtown Yorkville. | Steven Buyansky~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: July 6, 2012 2:52AM



Linda Mertes couldn’t help herself when she saw repair trucks roll past her West Chicago home Thursday morning en route to repair damaged power poles and lines that had left her without power since Sunday.

“I saw them go up the street and I was cheering, going “Yay,” said Mertes, who was hoping the electricity comes on later Thursday.

It did.

Late Thursday, ComEd announced that power had been restored to all customers affected by Sunday’s storms.

Mertes block’s power was restored around 9 p.m., neighbors said.

“It’s definitely, absolutely a relief to have it back on,” said Mertes’ neighbor Mark Davis. You don’t realize how much you miss electricity until it’s gone for a while.”

Mertes and her fiance had been running two generators to try to keep their house livable in the face of record-setting heat that moved in just after the storms that knocked out their power.

“It’s been rough,” said fiance Mark Stilin, 51. “There’s been no TV, no nothing. It’s a pain in the butt.”

They had been using the generators to power their refrigerator and alternating air conditioners to keep the downstairs cool during the day and the upstairs cool enough at night to sleep.

“We try to run it only when we have to. We’ve got only the basics,” said Mertes, 51.

Stilin figures they’ve spent “a few hundred dollars” for the gas needed to power the generators.

They had been lucky because they still had drinking water. Some neighbors who have private wells lost access to the water when their power failed.

A few neighbors came by earlier to get drinking water or take a quick shower, she said.

They had also been spending time by their backyard, above-ground pool to try to stay cool.

“You take it for granted until it’s gone,” Mertes said.

Davis, had used a generator to keep his air conditioning going and sometimes even to power up his big-screen TV.

“Thank God for that generator,” Davis said.

Another West Chicago family was thrilled when their electricity popped back on Wednesday night, freeing them from sleeping in the coolest part of the house: their basement.

Juan Castro said he, his four brothers and his parents celebrated by watching a movie on their big-screen TV — one of the things they missed most while their power was out.

“We did some popcorn, cranked up the AC and turned on the movie,” Castro said. “The first things you miss are the TV and the central air.”

ComEd announced that as of 11:30 p.m. Thursday power had been restored to all of its customers who were affected by Sunday’s storms, which created outages for about 300,000 customers.

Contributing: Sun-Times Media, Sandra Guy



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