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People in Perry shocked by the number of random power outages, First Energy promises fixes

Posted: 6:00 AM, Aug 22, 2017
Updated: 2017-08-22 08:52:22-04

There are power problems in Perry! People have been calling the 5 On Your Side Investigators frustrated with what they call a shocking number of power outages in their neighborhood and how long they last.

"It's very unusual the amount and the occurrences that we had,” said Mike Spronz. “I noticed it when we first moved in.”

Mike and his wife Susan moved into their Perry neighborhood in 2006. They say in the arc of 10 years, they've had too many random power outages.

“We lost power both on Saturday and on Sunday and it was a beautiful day out,” said Susan.

They eventually bought a backup generator.

"When (the power) goes out that often, you have to have a backup plan," Mike told us.

Their generator has been used so much that it's broken down three times and, on the day of our interview, Mike was taking it to be fixed.

And they're not alone. Susan told us a neighbor invested $6,000 in a professionally installed generator.

"I just can't imagine having to spend that amount of money because you don't trust the electric service," she said. 

A problematic First Energy power circuit serves 1,900 customers and some of those customers are in their 80s, including a neighbor of the Spronz family.

"When the power went out on Sunday, she got stuck in the lift chair,” said Susan. “And with her husband trying to help her get out, it was a struggle."

The Perry Nuclear Power Plant is just two miles from the affected neighborhood. In fact, the Spronz family can see the billowy steam coming up into the air right from their backyard.

"It's kind of a standing joke around here. We live a mile away from the nuclear power plant and they have no power…which is kind of unusually funny,” said Mike.

5 On Your Side Investigators called First Energy and informed company representatives about the issues. They admitted there have been problems and said it's not the kind of service that they want to provide their customers.

Spronz’s neighbor Dan Kropko doesn’t like it much either. “We pay our bills every month. When they want it, they get it so we should have the service,” Kropko said.

So, the company sent out crews and looked into swapping out equipment and possibly installing remote restarts on the circuit. They also said they will trim trees near power lines.

"I'm hopeful because it's the first bit of good news I've heard on this issue in the ten years I've lived here,” Spronz told us.

The Spronz family said they called First Energy to report the problems but had issues connecting to a real person. First Energy said customers should be patient with the automated messages and make sure they report their problems.

We'll stay on top of this issue to see if fixes are made.