# Problem Solver: A damaged lawn gathers no grass

## ComEd fixed the pole behind Glenn Smith's house. Now the yard needs fixing.

Strong winds broke the utility pole behind Glenn Smith's Sleepy Hollow house in July, cutting electric service for a day.

ComEd crews reacted quickly, arriving within 24 hours to restore power and replace the pole, along with poles on either side of Smith's house.

"The guys did their best," he said.

But they also caused some damage.

To access the broken pole, in the easement behind Smith's property, ComEd crews drove their equipment through Smith's half-acre backyard. In the process, they inadvertently scraped off a patch of grass roughly 150-feet long and a half-dozen feet wide.

When Smith first called to ask if ComEd would repair the damaged lawn, he was told the work would be done in a few days, he said.

"Initially they said they would be out the following Wednesday. They didn't show," he said. "Then they said 'next weekend.' Then it's just 'you're on the list.'"

As the months passed, Smith's torn-up lawn remained untouched.

In early September, he sent ComEd an email asking when the work would be done. No one responded, so he typed another email — to What's Your Problem?

"It's really not much of a project," he said. "A yard of dirt and 10 to 12 pounds of seed."

Although he wanted ComEd to do the work, Smith said he really just wanted the utility to give him a straight answer. If ComEd said it would not repair the lawn, he would buy the dirt and grass seed himself, even if he didn't think it was his responsibility.

With fall approaching, he simply wanted to get the grass seeded before it became too cold.

"The general rule for our area is to do it by Oct. 8," he said. "The sooner the better if it's going to root and make it through winter."

The Problem Solver called ComEd spokeswoman Elizabeth Keating and described Smith's situation.

Later that day, a ComEd employee visited Smith's house to apologize and survey the yard.

Smith was elated.

But the lawn remains damaged.

In an email to the Problem Solver on Tuesday, Keating said ComEd "strives to respond quickly and effectively to customers' questions and concerns and keep them apprised of scheduled work."

She said ComEd employees have assessed the situation.

"The pole that was replaced is a shared pole and is used by other utilities," she said. "While ComEd has completed its work, the other utilities still need to transfer their equipment to this pole, which means driving across Mr. Smith's lawn."

Keating said ComEd is expediting a joint work agreement so the other utilities can install their equipment.

"Once that work is complete, we will return Mr. Smith's lawn back to his satisfaction," she said. "Because other utilities are involved, it is possible that this process could take several weeks, which we shared with Mr. Smith. ComEd will stay in contact with him throughout the entire process."

The Problem Solver will provide updates as warranted.