BURR RIDGE – Bud Coglianese has seen lots of positive changes in Burr Ridge since he built his funeral home on South Frontage Road in 1985, but the quality of his electrical service is not one of them.
“It is worse now than it was a few years ago,” said Coglianese, one of a handful of local business owners and village officials who attended a meeting with representatives from ComEd. He estimates his property has been without power four or five times this year.
The business owners want the utility to find a solution to what they consider to be frequent power outages in their section of town, along the west side of County Line Road from the police station to Interstate 55.
Village Administrator Steve Stricker agreed outages have become more frequent. He said there have been several occasions when the Village Hall and police station have been without power while properties just south of the police station experience no interruption, or a shorter interruption.
The police station and Village Hall have backup generators to allow work to continue during an outage, but other businesses don’t have that luxury.
“It’s expensive to an employer,” and disruptive to business, Coglianese said.
An outage several years ago caused flooding in the lower level of Coglianese’s funeral home. During another outage, he had no choice but to lead a grieving family through the casket showroom using flashlights.
“We’re trying to make it easier for families, and power outages certainly don’t help,” he said.
Martha Arendt, spokesman for ComEd, said the company is working to correct the problem.
“ComEd is working closely with the village of Burr Ridge and interested businesses to ensure that their service needs are addressed,” Arendt said.
She said the company plans to invest $2.6 billion over the next 10 years in things such as smart switches, which can reroute power in case of an outage. Four such switches are planned for Burr Ridge yet this year, Arendt said. She could not confirm whether any of the four switches would directly impact the area along County Line Road.
Arendt said the company also intends to replace or refurbish 10,000 feet of underground cable in the Burr Ridge area this year. But that won’t affect the area in question, which still is serviced by above-ground lines.
“We’re working with a 19th-century system here,” Stricker said.
He said ComEd has agreed to do an engineering study to look further into the problem, and to do extensive tree trimming in the area.
Jerry Dill, owner of several office buildings along County Line Road, said an outage doesn’t have to be long to cause a big problem. A one-second glitch can mean big trouble if it shuts down a computer, Dill said.