Earlier this week, an administrative law judge recommended that ComEd should be liable for some of the damages and power outages caused by storms that swept through Illinois in 2011.

From the judge’s recommendation, residents may see reimbursements in the near future to make up for damages caused from outages. On July 11, 2011 alone, a record 850,000 customers were left without power for extended periods. Towns may also be reimbursed for providing emergency services.

Illinois law states that utilities must compensate Illinois customers when an outage affects more than 30,000 citizens for at least four hours, aside from situations of “unpreventable damage.” ComEd is fighting the recommendation, claiming that their distribution and infrastructure was not responsible for outages, and that the damage from the 2011 summer storms was not preventable.

The final decision –which could come as soon as March – is up to the Illinois Commerce Comission (ICC), the entity that regulates utilities in the state of Illinois. Because of the judge’s recommendation, it is not likely that ComEd will be responsible for all of the damage.