WBEZ | weather forecasts http://www.wbez.org/tags/weather-forecasts Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Heat wave leads ComEd to suspend electricity shutoffs http://www.wbez.org/story/heat-wave-leads-comed-suspend-electricity-shutoffs-89494 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-21/ComEd.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Northern Illinois residents behind on their electricity bills don’t have to worry about Commonwealth Edison disconnecting them. They don’t, that is, until the heat wave lets up.</p><p>If a day’s National Weather Service forecast predicts temperatures of at least 95 degrees, Illinois prohibits a big power company from disconnecting homes that depend on the juice to keep cool.</p><p>ComEd spokeswoman Arlana Johnson late Thursday said her company, given the heat, had not cut off any of its residential customers since last week. “We have been evaluating that on a daily basis,” she added.</p><p>The company’s restraint won praise from Elce Redmond, an organizer of the South Austin Coalition, a neighborhood group on Chicago’s West Side that is pushing for an overhaul of utility shutoff policies. “That’s a good first step,” Redmond said. “But, once the weather breaks, are they going to start massive disconnections?”</p><p>At a press conference Thursday afternoon, the coalition demanded a three-month moratorium on shutoffs and, then, more affordable reconnection and repayment terms.</p><p>ComEd responded that it cut off power only as a last resort. “No business can continue to operate if customers don’t pay for the service,” Johnson said.</p><p>During the year’s first six months, ComEd disconnected 46,493 customers for nonpayment and reconnected 28,252, according to the Illinois Commerce Commission. Those figures were up 4.1&nbsp;percent and 28.5&nbsp;percent, respectively, from the same months of 2010.</p></p> Fri, 22 Jul 2011 10:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/heat-wave-leads-comed-suspend-electricity-shutoffs-89494