Commonwealth Edison’s ongoing investment in infrastructure improvements in Oak Lawn has greatly improved the relationship between the utility and the village, which for years seemed to be hit with regular power outages whenever there was a high wind.
When ComEd external affairs manager Phil Halliburton came to the April 26 village board meeting to review the infrastructure improvements, officials thanked him for being so responsive to their requests.
Halliburton said that in 2015, ComEd replaced 13,600 feet of underground distribution cable in the village, which he said benefited 533 local customers.
More is expected to be done this year.
He said the utility also installed a distribution automation system that will limit outages when they do occur.
“It allows us to sectionalize the system,” he said, explaining that if something damages a power line, that damaged section is immediately “locked out,” so the fewest number of users are affected and the repairs are done quickly.
“We’ve also done some 195 miles of tree-trimming in the area last year,” he said, in an effort to reduce the number of outages caused by falling tree limbs.
Halliburton said the condition of utility poles has been inspected throughout the village, and 194 wooden poles have been reinforced by with metal braces at their base.
“They were never in danger of falling down,” he said.
He said this year, among other improvements, 27,200 feet of cable is going to be replaced in the village, and work has already begun on replacing 139 poles.
Some “smart technology” is also going to be installed, said Halliburton, suggesting that residents may follow the progress of the work being done by visiting the website at www.comed.com.
“Thank you for really getting out there and seeing what needs to be done and getting it done. I look forward to it continuing this year, said Trustee Alex Olejniczak (2nd), who has long he been at the forefront of efforts to hold ComEd to account for outages.
He said he attended more than 25 meetings with Halliburton regarding infrastructure improvement needs, and witnessed the pole reinforcements done in 50th and 51st Avenue alleys in his district, as well as the tree trimming.
“Thank you, and thank ComEd for paying attention to the fine citizens of Oak Lawn,” said the trustee.
“I agree that ComEd has done a great job of Oak Lawn. We will be staying in touch,” said Trustee Bud Stalker (5th). Olejniczak noted that Stalker’s expertise in the field, having retired from ComEd himself, has also helped the village sort out the problems.
Halliburton said his immediate predecessor in his position got the process started and deserves much of the praise being heaped on him.
“I want residents to know this gentleman talking so modestly has made himself available to us at any time of the day,” said Mayor Sandra Bury. “We demand a lot of you, and you have always been there for us.”