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Nearly One Year After Tornado Strike in Coal City, ComEd Goes Back to Plant Trees and Present Solar Education Program

In honor of Arbor Day, ComEd volunteers plant nearly 100 trees and educate Coal City High School students on solar energy

CHICAGO (April 29, 2016) — In honor of Arbor Day on April 29, ComEd employees are heading to Coal City in an effort to revitalize the city's green spaces in the aftermath of the devastating tornado that struck the area in June 2015 and destroyed thousands of trees. Volunteers from ComEd will plant nearly 100 trees around the city and also will give away 400 free saplings to local residents on a first-come, first-served basis.

In addition, to bring greater awareness of the environment and the value of solar energy, ComEd will be presenting its Solar Spotlight program to students at Coal City High School. Through Solar Spotlight, students will learn how sunlight becomes electricity, see live solar demonstrations and have the opportunity to construct their own solar-powered cells.

"ComEd cares and is committed to giving back to the communities we serve. Last June, we saw first-hand the impact the tornado had on Coal City and its residents," said Fidel Marquez, ComEd's Senior Vice President of Government and External Affairs. "Nearly one year later we are glad to be back celebrating Arbor Day with Coal City community members and replacing trees lost to the devastating storm, while also recognizing the dawn of a new day with positive power of the sun through our Solar Spotlight Program."

Trees for Friday's event have been donated by local Spring Grove Nursery, Lewis Tree Service, Davey Resource Group, Homer Tree Service, and through ComEd's partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, who last year launched a new program with the utility – Power Planting – in which residential customers with trees impacted by vegetation management work had the opportunity to receive up to two free saplings.

"I can't express my thanks enough for everything ComEd has done. They went well beyond restoring power after the November tornado by supplying water, having cooling buses, talking with residents and working with everyone as a partner," said Terry Halliday, President, Coal City. "Now 10 months later, and they are working with us again to supply and plant trees to help our residents restore their yards. I think it is incredible that ComEd is able to bring the Solar Spotlight to the Coal City High School honor students and let them have a hands-on learning experience with renewable power as part of this Arbor Day event."

ComEd's Solar Spotlight curriculum was developed by local Illinois business owner Chris Williams of Millennium Solar Electric and is presented with the help of ComEd engineers who serve as mentors to the student participants. The program provides instruction, insight and hands-on training into the various STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) aspects that go into designing, building and installing the solar-powered lights.

As a part of this year's Arbor Day efforts, ComEd has again announced it will be giving away 3,900 low-growing trees to residents throughout the service territory in conjunction with its ongoing efforts to enhance reliability and promote environmental stewardship.

Residents interested in receiving up to two free saplings should visit http://energysavingtrees.arborday.org and enter the code COMED15 in the promo box on the checkout page. Trees will be mailed within one to two weeks and available while supplies last.

ComEd's team of certified arborists is leading several Arbor Day celebrations across Northern Illinois.  Events include tree plantings at schools, educational booths at community environmental events, and volunteering at nature preserves.

In addition to Friday's event in Coal City, ComEd volunteers will also be planting trees and working on gardening projects with students at the Gary Comer Youth Center in south Chicago.

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Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with approximately 10 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit ComEd.com, and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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