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Oak Lawn trustees debate ComEd outages

Olejniczak

Olejniczak

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Updated: April 28, 2014 10:26AM



ComEd’s aging infrastructure is to blame for recurring power outages in areas of Oak Lawn and the utility needs to make improvements that address the problems.

That’s the sentiment from Trustee Alex Olejniczak (Dist. 2), who expressed his concerns during the regularly scheduled Oak Lawn Village Board meeting Tuesday night.

The board postponed voting on whether to send a complaint letter intended for the Illinois Commerce Commission and, instead, moved the item to committee for more discussion.

Since 2011, Oak Lawn has experienced 50 long-term outages in various parts of the village, Olejniczak said.

Oak Lawn residents can expect to see a rise in the frequency of power outages this year through spring and summer, topping out at 12 in July, he said.

“Our power outages stay out,” Olejniczak said. “Some of them were lasting for days.”

Not everyone on the board shares Olejniczak’s opinion of the Exelon-owned utility and energy delivery company.

Trustee Mike Carberry (Dist. 6) defended ComEd, saying it is “one of the best utility companies in the county,” and that they’ve addressed outages as they have happened.

“They are a great partner, and they do a fantastic job,” Carberry said.

Carberry objected to any notion of taking legal action against ComEd.

In March 2013, ComEd blamed a raccoon and a downed line for a power surge that caused about $25,000 in dozens of Oak Lawn homes. ComEd slated a number of improvements later that year, including installation of devices that deter wildlife and pole upgrades.

Olejniczak argued that the problems lie within ComEd’s infrastructure, which he said the company has acknowledged needs improvement.

Because of the problems, outages and brownout impact the same sections of Oak Lawn year after year, he said.

“Their whole plan is that they wait for something to fail,” Olejniczak said.



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