Reporting Pamela Jones
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CHICAGO (CBS) – ComEd said Wednesday that it should not be held liable for some damages that resulted from power outages in this summer’s storms.
But, as CBS 2′s Pamela Jones reports, some customers said that’s not fair and they should be compensated for all the damage and waste when the lights and power went out.
“I think that we’re paying for a service and, what, we’re not going to be provided with it?” said Mt. Prospect resident Mary Ann Budzon.
She endured the July 11 storms without power. Like thousands of others, she said the situation made them feel, figuratively, powerless.
“People have lost food, they’ve been flooded, they’ve had damages to their house. I mean they can’t assess everything that was done and people want an explanation and we’re not getting it,” Budzon said.
She said she thinks ComEd should help customers pay for some of those losses, but a new petiton the utility has handed to state regulators doesn’t agree.
It asks the Illinois Commerce Commission to determine that ComEd is “not liable” for damages resulting from power outages during six storms in June and July, because the utility says “the interruptions were caused by unpreventable damage due to weather events or conditions.”
ComEd said the storms were extraordinarily severe and caused some $80 million in damage to power lines, poles and other equipment in the system.
The utility said that, under state statute, it would only have to pay customers if a “single continuous power interruption results in a group of more than 30,000 ComEd customers being without service for at least four hours.
“We’ve had four outages in a period of a month and we’ve been out for at least 12, 14 hours, 24 hours at a time,” Budzon said.
In a statement Wednesday night, ComEd spokesman Bennie Currie said, “This has been a record-breaking summer for severe weather and ComEd understands the frustration our customers experience when they’re without electricity for any extended period. We do not reimburse customers for losses associated with an act of nature, such as a storm, which is beyond the company’s control.”