New crews arriving to restore power, but it's not enough, Arlington Heights leaders say

But response too little too late, Arlington Hts. leaders say

Households across the suburbs endured a second day of cold, dark homes after Sunday night's snowstorm zapped power - and that's not right, Arlington Heights officials said Tuesday.

About 11,000 households in the Chicago area were without power as of 3 a.m. Wednesday. Many were concentrated in Arlington Heights, Elmhurst and surrounding towns, a ComEd spokesman said.

"To be candid, we're very frustrated," Arlington Heights Village Manager Randall Recklaus said.

The village has the "second most amount of outages of any municipality," but despite promises from ComEd it would respond in force to the storm, the utility fell short by providing just two crews of two people in the immediate aftermath to Arlington Heights, he said.

ComEd's Tom Dominguez said with fresh crews arriving, "we do believe we will get a majority" of customers back in service by Wednesday "and we plan to have everyone back in service by Thursday."

Now, however, "temperatures are getting into the teens and it's getting to be a real safety hazard," Recklaus said, adding he thought ComEd had dropped the ball.

About 1,600 households were out of power as of Tuesday afternoon in Arlington Heights and the village is advising residents to seek shelter with friends or relatives or in motels rather than stay without heat. For information, go

ComEd said an additional 262 crews from across the U.S. are arriving, supplying about 1,000 people to restore electricity and assist the 500 local ComEd and contractor teams in the field now.

High winds of more than 50 mph were the No. 1 cause of the outage. "It sent a lot of trees and debris into the lines," Dominguez said, adding that gales also hampered repairs. A second problem was ice forming on power lines.

ComEd advised people who see downed power lines to stay 20 feet away and alert the utility at (800) EDISON or (800) 334-7661. "Always assume it's live and dangerous," Dominguez said.

He also suggested residents turn off or unplug most items affected by the outage to avoid a power surge that could trip a fuse, for example, when electricity is restored.

A total of 350,000 households lost electricity in the storm.

Asked why some residents experienced power going on and off rapidly Sunday night, Rodriguez explained that utility poles are often equipped with three transformers. If something causes an outage to one, it transfers power to the next one, he said.

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