Students of Butler Junior High utilize computers in the classroom and in a new program. | Dan Luedert—Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 6, 2012 6:23AM
We vehemently disagree with the Sun-Times Oct. 3 characterization of ComEd’s commitment to reliable service on the South Side of Chicago. Art Golab’s story was an unfair and inaccurate portrayal of ComEd’s service in the city of Chicago and misled readers into believing that we at ComEd value some customers more than others. On behalf of the nearly 6,000 men and women of ComEd who work around the clock to serve our customers and who live and raise families in virtually every community we serve, I can assure you that this is not the case.
ComEd understands the importance of the service we provide and works hard to power the lives of our customers by delivering reliability that ranks in the top quartile of comparable utilities nationally. We have invested more than $9 billion over the last 10 years to achieve this performance.
In Chicago, our reliability has steadily improved by 5 percent over the last five years and is currently better than the reliability of our entire system, with the exception of unpredictable storm damage. Last year, approximately 70 percent of our customers in Chicago had one or no outages. Although the South Side has the disadvantages of more storms, more trees and more overhead lines, we’ve succeeded in improving reliability and outage frequency on the South Side by three percent in five years.
All that said, we recognize we have more to do. The Sun-Times failed to credit ComEd for our efforts to improve reliability and more effectively connect with our customers. We also have embarked on a 10-year $2.6 billion grid modernization plan. Under this program in 2012 we assessed 5,800 manholes, replaced 25 miles of cable and 15 poles and installed 133 smart switches in the city alone. On average, 40 percent of this work will benefit the South Side.
We’ve made great strides improving storm restoration and communications with customers in severe weather events. We have added tools to track crews and plot outages in real time and increased first responder ranks by 20 percent. And when storms and other emergencies hit, we work hand in hand with the city in its command center and often walk neighborhoods with the aldermen.
While the Sun-Times is free to scrutinize our reliability, it does customers a disservice by distorting the facts and neglecting our efforts to improve. We expect better from the Sun-Times.
Anne Pramaggiore, CEO of ComEd