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Businesses, residents upset after fifth power outage in almost two months

Businesses, residents upset after fifth power outage in almost two months
Posted at 1:09 PM, Aug 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-12 16:54:40-04

The power went out for Cleveland Public Power customers on the city's west side for close to seven hours Saturday evening into early Sunday morning. It's safe to say customers were not pleased, especially with the company's history of power outages.

According to CPP's social media pages, the company has had at least five power issues just since June.

  • June 18: CPP apologized on Facebook for an outage and said crews were working to identify and isolate the problem. According to a tweet from CPP, extreme heat and increased consumption caused the outage on the west side. It also claimed there were "issues with the feeders in the area."
  • June 30: On Twitter, CPP again said high heat was causing low voltage and brownouts on the west side.
  • July 5: CPP said via Facebook that a storm took down trees which took down power lines and caused a power outage.
  • Aug. 7: CPP sent out a photo showing crews working to restore power in areas impacted by a storm.
  • Aug. 11: CPP claimed its main power line that feeds the entire west side went down, and it had to work with CEI, which is owned by the Illuminating Company, to get it restored. 

While CPP said it was at the mercy of The Illuminating Company during the latest power outage, The Illuminating Company said CPP couldn't restore power because CPP's alternate line has been out of service for over a year.

Some businesses were angered by the outage which cost them valuable business. The Plum in Ohio City said it has lost tens of thousands of dollars due to CPP outages over the last two years.

Others did their best to make the most of the situation. The Near West Theatre on Detroit Avenue was in the middle of a production when the power went out. As they say, the show must go on, and the cast delivered the rest of its performance by battery-operated candlelight.

In January, News 5's Joe Pagonakis reported another series of outages that left customers wanting answers. At the time, Cleveland Councilman Michael Polensek said the city utilities committee requested a list of all anticipated capital projects over the next five years to get a snapshot of how CPP planned to improve its aging infrastructure. Cleveland west side community leader Henry Senyak pointed to aging wiring in his neighborhood, which he believes lost a significant amount of its insulation. 

News 5 has reached out to CPP and FirstEnergy (which owns The Illuminating Company) on Sunday about the outage. CPP has not yet responded, but FirstEnergy sent the following statement:

Yesterday, the Illuminating Company experienced an equipment issue at a substation that feeds CPP’s system. However, the outage experienced by CPP’s west side customers could have been avoided completely if CPP had maintained an existing, alternate line it has in place to serve those customers. This line has been out of service for a long time, and depending on a single line instead of maintaining a redundant system creates an avoidable and unnecessary risk for customers.