ComEd: About 500 remain without power

The energy company's trucks are shown in this file image.

July 17, 2011 4:34:23 AM PDT
ComEd was still working to restore power to about 500 customers Saturday night as a heat wave builds in Chicago.

Saturday was the sixth day of efforts to get all the electricity back on after Monday's powerful storms, which knocked out power to nearly 850,000 people.

The temperature is expected to be in the 90s for several days in a row, starting Sunday.

A big part of the country is already dealing with very hot temperatures which are on the way here. Saturday saw highs in the upper 80s with low humidity in the evening.

At the World's Largest Block Party in the West Loop Saturday, there were cool tunes, cold drinks, and hot eats. Josh Caudill, a cook for Robinson's No. 1 Ribs, was feeling the heat after ten hours behind the grill.

"Definitely feels like it's getting a little hotter. Every hour," said Caudill. "But, yeah. It's brutal. It's brutal out here."

Kyle Jackson, dressed in a skin-tight green suit, said the weather was "so draining. I'm already out of energy. I just feel like I need to take a break."

Many Saturday sought relief at the beach, but with a string of 90-plus degree days on the horizon, some say even the lakefront may not provide refuge.

"I'm not going to be out here," said beachgoer Charles Freeman. "I'm going to tell you the honest truth - I'm not going to be out here. I'm going to be at home with my daughter and I'm going to be up under the fan."

By evening, temperatures had cooled off considerably, much to the delight of those taking in the Michelle Branch and Goo Goo Dolls concert at Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island.

"It's really nice because of the view and how nice of a night it is outside," said concertgoer Addie Lyon.

With oppressive heat expected starting Sunday, ComEd worked to restore power to those still waiting after Monday's storm.

At about 9 p.m. Saturday, about 500 customers were without electricity.

Waukegan, Round Lake Park, Lindenhurst, Zion far north suburban Libertyville have the most remaining outages.

Some Libertyville residents say they feel like ComEd has forgotten about them as the utility struggles to restore power to storm-torn areas

"ComEd doesn't really seem to care, and you get a different story every time you talk to someone there," said Libertyville resident Tucker Olsen.

People along a block of Interlaken Lane have been without power since Monday and say they are tired of being patient.

"We have probably five, six maybe ten power outages a year and we've complained over and over and over again and no response... other than, 'It's an act of God, there's nothing we can do,'" said Libertyville resident Helmut Peter.

"I lost everything that was in two refrigerators and freezers," said Libertyville resident Karen Blair.

"I apologize that we've gone into an extra day, but we've tried hard," said ComEd Chairman and CEO Frank Clark.

Saturday afternoon, ComEd's Frank Clark apologized to weary customers still waiting for their service to come back as hundreds of repair crews from as far away as Georgia remained on the job.

"We were seeing broken poles, broken wires, several spans of conductor on the ground," said Tony Carroll of Georgia Power.

Violent storms hit Lake County hard nearly a week ago. The result was toppled trees and downed power lines which left more than 850,000 people in the dark. Since then, some customers say they have been frustrated by misleading texts from ComEd.

"Customers may be affected by more than one location of damage," said ComEd Senior Vice President Fidel Marquez.

The utility plans to complete most of its restoration efforts Saturday. In the meantime, all that Jeff Blair and his neighbors can do is wait.

"We've all been going to hotels or going to clubs or wherever we can get a shower, and going out to eat every night for a week," said Libertyville resident Jeff Blair.

ComEd officials say they will continue to evaluate their restoration process and work to make it more efficient.

In the meantime, some of residents affected by the outage plan on filing claims with ComEd for lost food and expenses.

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