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ComEd Can't Pull Plug on Residents' Anger

Customers of the utility still angry after meeting with officials Monday.

With all the  during this sweltering summer of 2011, no one should have been surprised that a lot of frustration boiled over at Glenview Police Station Monday night when ComEd officials met with the public.

Equally unsurprising was the fact that people, who in many cases that had , did not leave satisfied. Holly Stevens, who has lived in Evanston for three years, believed ComEd was trying to placate their customers.

“I’ve lived in Florida before this and with all the hurricanes the electric companies had their act together,” Stevens said. “What was disappointing was I felt they didn’t have the right people out there to address our concerns. They had their PR face on, and those are the people who are sent out to appease everyone. I would have liked to have heard specifics about what the game plan was for future improvements.”

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Larry Greenberg has lived in Skokie for almost 29 years. He says he experienced eight power outages since 2007, and left the meeting feeling philosophical more than anything else. He said he wishes the monopoly would provide a single person to communicate with when problems occur, but that does not happen.

“I’m angry, but in a sullen way,” Greenberg said. “I’m angry because you can’t talk to anybody in authority in terms of expectations. I don’t have anyone to talk to on a regular basis.”   

Chuck Spohr, also of Skokie, came to the meeting with his wife, Judith Arnold. They had been through two outages. They were disappointed in the hostilities from the residents, but did hear a lot from ComEd to give them confidence going forward.

“I wish the residents were more polite, but there were intelligent remarks by my neighbors,” Spohr said. “Even if they had the improvements they talked about, I don’t things would improve that much.”

Officials speak out

Also in attendance were elected officials from many of the areas hit hardest by the outages.

Sandy Frum, Village President of Northbrook, says she heard a lot of frustration from both residents and the ComEd officials in attendance.

“I don’t think they need to be responding to every comment that is made,” Frum said. “[ComEd] needs to be listening, and the municipal leaders need to be listening as well, so we can be working together and solve the problems.”

Frum added the . She wants to see an action plan by ComEd as to how they are going to proceed with the input they received at the meeting, specifically in terms of the quality of the power lines.

“I would like to see a timeline put together to see when they are going to address the issue we raised with them,” she said. “Those are the reliability issues, when they are going to tell us when they are going be walking the lines and when they are going to give us recommendations as to how they are going to improve the lines.”

Finally, Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) listened to what many of her constituents had to say.

“I think it was very informative,” Gabel said. “I think it was great the community came out and explained to ComEd what some of their issues were. I believe ComEd has a responsibility to look up some of these addresses and get back to the community, and to help us figure out how we can move forward and look at some of these infrastructure issues.”

Gabel said he was going to try and find some course of action for the state legislature.

“We need to use the power of the seat to encourage [ComEd] to do something,” Gable said.

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