CHICAGO, Jan. 17, 2003 — ComEd officials announced today that 2002 was an outage-free year for more than 1.4 million customers, a dramatic improvement reflecting the company’s best reliability performance since 1998. Additionally, 71 percent of ComEd’s 3.5 million total customers experienced one or no power outages in 2002 — up from 64 percent in 2001.
“The results show that we are improving the reliability of ComEd’s electric service year after year,” said Greg Dudkin, ComEd’s executive vice president of operations. “The investments and efforts we’ve made to improve our system are paying off, and we’re working very hard to make sure that we continue to improve.”
At the close of 2002, ComEd power outages were down by 51 percent since 1998. When outages did occur, the company’s crews reduced the average length of outages by 65 percent over the same period. Progress made last year was significant: outages dropped 17 percent compared to the number of outages in 2001 and the average length dropped seven percent over the same time.
ComEd attributes the faster restoration times, in part, to the company’s approach of re-routing power around problem areas when possible to get power back to customers faster in many instances. Once the power is restored, ComEd crews then make the necessary permanent repairs.
Dudkin said that ComEd continues to push for additional improvements in 2003, with plans in place to upgrade and reinforce the system, and enhance preventive maintenance efforts. This year ComEd will continue improvement work plans with additional focus on identifying small pockets of problems in neighborhoods for corrective work.
The company completed more than 400 projects in 2002 to improve reliability. One of the most recently completed projects involved installing automatic circuit breakers, called reclosers, on many power lines across ComEd’s northern Illinois service territory. The reclosers help contain the extent of power outages — significantly reducing the number of customers affected by outages on lines equipped with the devices.
“ComEd is focused on improving the level of service to our customers,” Dudkin said. “And we expect that our customers will experience even fewer and shorter power outages in 2003.”
Commonwealth Edison is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC – News), one of the nation’s largest electric utilities with more than $15 billion in revenues and a customer base of five million. ComEd provides service to 3.5 million customers across Northern Illinois, or nearly 70 percent of the state’s population.