A ComEd employee on Tuesday works inside the utility's mobile operations center in Matteson. Monday night's storms knocked out power to many south suburban residents, requiring use of the command center. | Nick Swedberg/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 3, 2014 6:37AM
In the aftermath of violent thunderstorms that left thousands in the dark, ComEd on Tuesday opened a mobile operations center in Matteson to coordinate the hundreds of workers restoring power in the south suburbs, which were hard hit by Monday’s storms.
The mobile center, which can house dozens of ComEd employees, has only been used twice during the last three years and will serve as a command center for ComEd’s operations in the Southland, said Fidel Marquez, a senior vice president with ComEd.
Powerful winds from the two lines of storms uprooted trees and downed many power lines, with most of the damage in the south suburbs, ComEd reported.
On Tuesday, ComEd had deployed 760 work crews and 300 assessment crews in the Chicago area, with most assigned to South Cook County, Marquez said. He said crews are operating on shifts of 16 hours with eight hours off.
The mobile center assists crews pulled from other areas within ComEd’s service region for emergency restoration work, Marquez said.
Stations line one wall and are outfitted with radios, enabling dispatchers to stay in contact with crews, provide updates to them and redirect workers to new areas as needed. On the other side of the center, a large projection screen is used to track work trucks using GPS technology.
ComEd purchased the mobile center following storms in 2011 that knocked out power for more than 900,000 customers. Prior to Tuesday, it had been used twice, including last July when storms left about 250,000 customers without electricity.
The center was deployed about 9 a.m. Tuesday and will stay until ComEd can restore power to all customers.