Since several members on the committee are new to City Council, Chairman George Cardenas (12) started Thursday’s meeting with an icebreaker, asking everyone to say their name and ward. Later in the meeting, an aide walked around the chambers and requested that everyone, including press and aldermen, write their name on a sign-in sheet.
Start time: 10:19
Committee members present: Chairman George Cardenas (12), Brian Hopkins (2), Gregory Mitchell (7), Toni Foulkes (16), Walter Burnett (27), Ariel Reboyras (30), Deb Mell (33), Carlos Rosa (35), Gilbert Villegas (36), Harry Osterman (48)
The Committee listened to a presentation regarding ComEd’s summer preparation plans and modernization efforts around Chicago, part of the company’s requirement to give an annual infrastructure update to the City Council. It has been doing so for the past 17 years, every year since the franchise agreement with the City of Chicago began.
According to David Reynolds, Commissioner of the Department of Fleet and Facility Management, 2014 was ComEd’s best performance year on record. The Department of Fleet and Facility Management oversees all franchise agreements with the city, and regularly inspects ComEd facilities. Reynold said the service improvement was largely due to years of infrastructure developments. The company spent $335M in capital investments in 2014 alone.
As for their summer preparedness, ComEd projects a 13% increase in energy usage this year compared to last summer. But it won’t be as high as 2011, which broke usage records.
Terry Donnelly, Chief Operating Officer for ComEd, also read a similar statement on the company’s investments.
But Ald. Cardenas quickly shifted the conversation to the franchise agreement’s expiration date: 2020. Cardenas told Reynolds and Donnelly that five years will pass quickly and he wants to ensure ComEd makes structural changes, including hiring a local, diverse workforce. He said he never sees a ComEd truck with a city sticker and demanded to know exactly how many Chicagoans are employed by the company. Donnelly said they have 169 Chicagoans on the payroll, excluding contractors.
Ald. Cardenas, Ald. Osterman, and Ald. Reboyras asked most of the questions during the hearing, although Ald. Brian Hopkins did ask how the provider addresses a spike in 311 calls when there is a power issue. Those calls are immediately diverted to ComEd, Reynolds said.