On the afternoon of Monday August 10, 2020 a storm hit the ComEd service territory knocking out power to about 850,000 customers. This was the largest number of customers out from one storm since at least 2011. The storm included winds of almost 100 mph and the company reported that 13 or 14 tornados touched down in the area. As is the norm when power goes out, the Care Center immediately felt the impact, with many of those customers calling in to report outages, downed power lines, trees on wires, and emergency conditions as well as call back numerous times for updates on estimated restoral times. During this period the Care Center took one million calls related to the storm and did so with an impressive 90% service level - meaning 90% of all calls were answered in thirty seconds or less. The average speed of answer for calls during this period was less than twenty-five seconds. Call Center employees also made approximately 3000 proactive calls later that week, calling customers who were still without power to provide them with updates about the outage and information regarding their estimated restoral time.
IBEW 15 Business Representatives Michael Freeman and Fabian Vela were in constant contact with both our own Union Stewards and the company trying to make sure all internal Local 15 options were being utilized to respond to the high call volume and address many of the issues that came up during this period. In addition to utilizing all regular CSRs and CC1s, Temporary CSRs were also engaged for overtime to assist with the call volume, as well as members in the New Business Central Department.
With widespread outages throughout the service territory many employees who were working remotely were impacted by the loss of power, and unable to perform their work remotely. Unfortunately, with the volume of calls and many employees working remotely, many issues arose during this period, which will need to be worked out, including numerous problems with bypasses, meals, shifts and the handling of employees working remotely who were impacted by outages. IBEW Local 15 and the company have agreed to temporarily put permanent work at home discussions for Care Center employees on hold until many of these issues can be sorted out. A Call Center Storm Task Force Team has already been assembled to begin those discussions with the hopes of creating a playbook for future storm handling so both sides can avoid this type of situation from happening again in the future. Call Center employees are reminded to report any storm related issues impacting overtime, callouts, meals, schedules, or any other issues to their Call Center Stewards so those issues can be addressed in these meetings.