ComEd launches upgrades in neighborhoods
ComEd crews have been making upgrades to the region's power system in recent weeks designed to improve system reliability and reduce outages. | Photo courtesy of ComEd
Do you think the ComEd upgrades will be a significant improvement?
Updated: August 20, 2012 6:37AM
If you notice ComEd crews working on power lines in your neighborhood, they may be doing more than just normal repair work.
Over the last several weeks, ComEd crews have been making infrastructure upgrades in the Libertyville, Mundelein and Vernon Hills area as a result of the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act, which was passed by the Illinois General Assembly last fall. ComEd officials say the upgrades are part of a 10-year, $2.6 billion program to modernize the electric grid, improve reliability to ComEd customers and reduce power outages.
“All of these are enhancements that will help improve performance and reduce disruptions to residents and commercial customers in our area,” said Martha Swaney, a spokesperson for ComEd. “We’re about six months into a 10-year plan, but some of the enhancements are already benefitting customers in the area.”
Over the past few months, ComEd already has made a number of system improvements in the Libertyville, Mundelein and Vernon Hills area.
In Mundelein, ComEd has replaced more than 3,400 feet of underground residential distribution (URD) cable, according to the company. The cable was either replaced or reburbished where necessary to reduce the number of customer service interruptions due to cable failures. ComEd also installed one automatic fuse device as part of the company’s storm hardening program, designed to “harden” circuits and reduce outages in areas of town historically vulnerable to weather-related damage. ComEd has also installed more than 500 feet of spacer cable to overhead power lines in the Mundelein area to reduce the likelihood of outages caused by tree limbs falling on lines.
ComEd also has replaced or refurbished approximately about 25,000 feet of underground residential distribution cable in the Libertyville area and 9,990 feet of underground cable in Vernon Hills, according to the company. In Vernon Hills, that includes about 4,500 feet or underground cable near U.S. Route 45 and Evergreen Drive. The company also has added spacer cable to strengthen overhead lines in the Libertyville and Vernon Hills area and reduce customer service interruptions caused by falling tree limbs. The company also has been installing distribution automation devices throughout the system, which allow the utility to automatically detect issues on the system and re-route power around a problem, with no noticeable disruption in service.
Swaney said ComEd crews also have been doing additional tree trimming near power lines to help reduce storm-related outages.
Swaney said thus far this summer ComEd has not received a significant number of complaints of power outages as a result of the heavy power usage due to the extreme heat. “The system is performing well in spite of the high temperatures,” she said.
Swaney said ComEd will be making other improvements in the coming months and years to modernize the system and improve reliability. Among the longer-term improvements will include the installation of smart meters at homes and businesses, which will allow the utility to immediately detect outages in the system.
“We are going to be doing more work in that area,” she said. “We want to make sure customers are aware of it because they may see our trucks in their area.”