Following up on The Reporter’s article related to the damaging power surge in Oak Lawn (ComEd denies responsibility for power surge), I would like to share ComEd’s perspective.
Shortly after midnight on March 10, a raccoon climbed a utility pole located in the 5300 block of West 95th street and made contact with a 12,000-volt power line. As a result, the wire burned and fell onto a 4,000-volt power line directly below it. This caused the circuit breakers for both of these lines to open — which resulted in an outage — but it also caused a surge for a short period of time. The breaker on the 4000-volt line requires a short period of time (30 seconds) to react to the increased voltage. This surge impacted power lines that feed a number of Oak Lawn residences.
ComEd immediately responded to the outage and restored power to all affected customers within two hours. Our ComEd team met with village officials and residents on two separate occasions to share and discuss this information. After receiving a number of claims for damaged appliances, ComEd launched a comprehensive investigation into this event. This process included a complete review of electrical system data as well as a thorough review of all claims. The findings of this investigation indicate that the outage and surge were the direct result of the raccoon coming into contact with the 12,000-volt line.
We truly regret that Oak Lawn customers were inconvenienced by the outage, and we recognize that some residents suffered property damage as a result of the power surge. However, because the outage and the surge were caused by an animal coming into contact with power lines, something over which we had no control, ComEd cannot be held responsible for any claims filed as a result.
We at ComEd greatly value our relationship with our customers – including employees, friends and neighbors – in Oak Lawn, and we take our responsibility to provide safe, reliable electric service very seriously. Local residents affected by this event may wish to follow up directly with their insurance companies in regard to claims.
ComEd senior vice president of Governmental and External Affairs