A subcommittee of the Stormwater Task Force on Monday asked their neighbors to be more tolerant of ComEd's tree trimming procedures as an effort to combat power outages in the city. The sub-group made this and other suggestions following their study of electricity service in the city.
Elmhurst officials formed the citizen in 2010 following severe flooding that summer. The ComEd committee, one of five subgroups on the task force, was charged with studying how the utility performed in the city.
The committee determined there is no single cause for the outages that plague many parts of the city, but trees, equipment failure and wildlife were three main culprits, committee member Cathy Jordan said.
The group met with ComEd officials and reviewed each of the city's circuits, looking for problems specific to each area. In addition, they met with the city's forester to discuss plans for five particularly problematic circuits on the south side of the city.
“We understand residents concerns, but we feel is vital to a more reliable system,” the committee wrote.
Assistant City Manager Mike Kopp told the council that the committee, city staff and ComEd discussed a plan to focus on the type of trees that cause the most interference with power lines. In these cases, ComEd could potentially trim outside of the normal 10-foot circle.
Kopp compared Siberian elms, which “drop limbs constantly,” to spruce trees, which can be trimmed more tightly. If this enhanced trimming policy is adopted, ComEd would contact each affected resident.
Other recommendations included having the city consider purchasing backup generators in bulk to give residents a better price, investigating a program that would allow city staff on private property to inspect trees, establishing a standing committee on ComEd service reliability and potentially canceling the utility's franchise agreement if service does not improve.
Aldermen agreed to discuss a timetable for considering the committee's recommendations.