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Thousands Still Without Power In Chicago Area Following Monday Storm

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CHICAGO POWER OUTAGES
Contract crews for ComEd repair downed powerlines three days after a powerful storm hit Waukegan, Ill., Wednesday, July 13, 2011. Electricity remains off for tens of thousands in the northern Illinois community about 40 miles north of Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) | AP

A powerful storm that lasted only minutes on Monday led to one of the most widespread power outages in Commonwealth Edison's history--and more than 100,000 Chicagoland customers remain without power days later.

"We recognize that power outages disrupt the lives and businesses of our customers," Anne Pramaggiore, ComEd's president and chief operating officer, told Lemont Patch. "ComEd crews are working hard to restore service to customers affected by the storm as quickly and safely as possible."

The Chicago Tribune reported Thursday that 75,000 of the remaining outages are in the north and northwest suburbs. A spokesman for the utility told the paper only a few "individual outages" will remain Saturday, in areas that are more difficult to repair. All Chicago outages are expected to be repaired by Thursday night.

ComEd workers told the Chicago Sun-Times they have encountered some hostility from customers in the dark for days, and many get frustrated when seeing their neighbors with fully functioning electricity while their food rots:

"A little old lady surprised us," said ComEd worker Walter Moore, as he repaired a downed line in Hillside Wednesday afternoon. "She lit right into us and was adamant about getting her lights and freezer and soap operas back. ... I calmed her down, but we get a lot of irate customers who just want to vent," said Moore.

Angry customers could be a problem for the already floundering ComEd. NBC Chicago reports that the utility ranked 112th out of 124 for overall performance in the latest J.D. Power and Associates' national survey of utility services. It ranked next to last in customer service.

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