Storm knocks out power for 765,000 in northern Illinois

No word yet on when Oak Parkers may get energy back; ComEd says could be 'multi-day effort'


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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

A raging storm this morning knocked out power for some 765,000 people in northern Illinois, including parts of Oak Park. And because of the widespread outages, it could take multiple days before everyone is out of the dark.

The storms started at about 6 a.m., and began disabling power shortly after, leaving about 578,000 people unplugged as of 2 p.m. ComEd spokesman Tony Hernandez could not say how many homes were affected in Oak Park and River Forest, but said it could take awhile before everything is back to normal.

“Because of the severity of the storm’s damage and the number of people who are out, we are looking at a multi-day restoration effort,” he said.

As many as 500 crews are out right now, working to restore power, and ComEd is asking neighboring utility companies to assist in the effort. The communities that will get first priority are those that have lost power at hospitals and police or fire stations.

Oak Park Village Hall usually gets an update from ComEd as soon as parts of the village lose power, but officials did not receive one this morning, according to spokesman David Powers. He’s heard reports of several downed trees, grounded power lines in 12 different locations and four inoperable traffic signals.


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Chris Koertge  

Posted: July 12th, 2011 5:18 PM

I'm with you there, Chris, and had a similar experience last night (well, except for the blazing lights and AC bit...) I had the pleasure of throwing a Frisbee around with a couple of neighbors last night. I never do that. Like most, I'm usually glued to the TV or Internet instead of socializing. Maybe my lemonade is that same unplugged once a week goal.

Chris B from Oak Park  

Posted: July 12th, 2011 5:07 PM

Had the opportunity with the power out to do some relaxing and leisurely summer reading, via camping LED lantern at night. You have to make lemonade out of lemons! Awoke to a blaze of lights and the fridge humming at 3:30 am. Aw, sweet AC!Can't say I missed the internet as much as I thought I would- I am thinking of going "unplugged" at least once a week, it was so pleasant.

Chris Koertge  

Posted: July 12th, 2011 4:59 PM

@Epic - okay, so our last exchange was a bit over the top and thankfully removed. My point, more eloquently stated, is that it's really hard for me to pat ComEd on the back for a job well done when I'm still without power with no ETA. I clearly realize that the businesses and larger outages are ComEd's priority. I'm guessing I'll be lucky to have power by the weekend and it's tough to be subjective on this when you're the one without power. I think you'd be upset too if you were in my shoes.

epic lulz  

Posted: July 12th, 2011 3:42 PM

@Chris -- ComEd's repair est system is automated, and ETAs vary as new info becomes available to the system. As outage reports continued to come in through out the day yesterday, priorities and ETAs were adjusted. As repair crews surveyed the extent of the damage, priorities and ETAs were adjusted. This was an unprecedented, record breaking event, and unfortunately you're not the highest priority, which I'm sure is a shock for you to learn.

Chris Koertge  

Posted: July 12th, 2011 3:23 PM

Easy for you to say, Epic. You obviously have electricity. As I said in my prior post, my frustration is more with inaccurate information from ComEd than with the outage itself. Good customer service requires accurate and honest communication, which is not what I've experienced with ComEd. The Sun Times article today quotes the Hinsdale village manager as sharing this concern and calling it a recurring problem. That's been my experience with them in prior outages as well.

Tree City USA  

Posted: July 12th, 2011 2:24 PM

Do we want beautiful trees or power? I'll take the trees any day of the week. Big trees high winds and storms= power outages. Have any of you heard of generators?

epic lulz  

Posted: July 12th, 2011 2:08 PM

868,000 ComEd customers lost power in the storm. That's a record. By the end of the day yesterday, more than half had their power restored. That is also a record. ComEd is doing an excellent job given the circumstances. Trib Local reports that 3000 customers in OP lost power, and that it may be three to four days for it all to be restored.

hate com ed  

Posted: July 12th, 2011 1:22 PM

power still out on N Kenilworth.

Chris Koertge  

Posted: July 12th, 2011 8:23 AM

24 hours, still no power on Grove just south of Madison and the misinformation from ComEd is almost more frustrating than the outage itself. Their website first said power would be restored by 10:15AM, then by 12:15, by 2:15, etc. It now says 4:30 tomorrow morning. When we called for status we were told a crew was dispatched and in the area as of 7:30 last night. I understand power outages after a massive storm, but don't have much tolerance for being strung along and lied to.

Violet Aura  

Posted: July 11th, 2011 6:14 PM

Thank Krishna! For ONCE, our little grid in RF was only off momentarily.


Posted: July 11th, 2011 4:02 PM

Power back at Harlem/Randolph around 3:30pm.

Sandi Pedersen  

Posted: July 11th, 2011 3:11 PM

Jim and Donna, thanks for your copy editing.

Jim from Oak Park  

Posted: July 11th, 2011 2:07 PM

Funny, as I drove up Oak Park Avenue at about 8:05 am, power and traffic signals were going out in multiple locations. Gotta wonder where you get your information. 10:00am? Really?

Donna from Oak Park  

Posted: July 11th, 2011 1:31 PM

Power near Oak Park Ave & Washington Blvd actually went out at 8:12 this morning. Power was out along Washington until just before Harlem. Power still seems to be out as of 1:30.

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