CLEVELAND — Cleveland resident Robert Carillio said he couldn't believe how many tourist areas in Downtown Cleveland have been left in darkness, due to street light outages, just a few days before the start of the long NBA All-Star Game Weekend.
Carillio reported lighting outages at West Huron near Tower City, on Prospect Avenue near West 3rd Street, West 9th Street at Johnson Court, at Mall B near the Marriott Hotel, and in front of the Huntington Cleveland Convention Center.
He believes all the darkness sets up a safety concern and could have a negative impact on tourism, business revenue, and city perception as Cleveland steps into the worldwide spotlight on Feb. 18 through Feb. 20.
“It doesn’t bode well with establishing that connectivity that we want down here," Carillio said. "So it’s a safety issue when some of the areas are shrouded in darkness.”
“If people don’t feel safe, they’re not going to support the businesses, they’re not going to support the businesses, they don’t feel safe walking to and from these businesses.”
News 5 shot video confirming all the outages and reported them to Cleveland Public Power and the Illuminating Company. News 5 also reported the outages to Ward 16 Cleveland Councilman and Utilities Committee Chairman Brian Kazy.
Kazy confirmed a main Cleveland Public Power feeder line went down causing a significant part of the downtown lighting outages. Kazy told News 5 major CPP reliability improvements are on the way, as the city conducts a full facilities assessment in 2022. Kazy said the City of Cleveland will also hold a series of CPP public meetings and interview employees as it gathers information on how to make service improvements.
“2022 for the utilities committee and the City of Cleveland is the year of CPP," Kazy said. "The facilities assessment will tell us what needs to be done, what doesn’t need to be done, what we need to work on. And once we get that document in hand, it’s off and running to the races.”
“We want residents to be involved and report issues, we can’t deal with issues unless we know about them, we can’t be everywhere all the time, so the eyes and ears are always the residents.”
The Illuminating Company issued a statement in response to our story:
Utility crews with The Illuminating Company have spent countless hours performing enhanced inspections, maintenance and upgrades on our equipment to help ensure Cleveland shines as brightly as possible during the NBA All-Star Weekend.
Over the past year, utility crews have inspected underground vaults and assessed equipment to help ensure the power continues to flow safely and reliably during one of professional basketball’s most televised events.
The company has also installed new, automated equipment and technology in substations and along power lines that serve NBA All-Star venues and surrounding areas to reinforce the system against lengthy service disruptions. To help assure system reliability wherever the crowds are likely to go, overhead and underground inspections were completed in tourist areas across the city, including Tremont and Ohio City
Cleveland Public Power pledged to have lighting outage repairs completed before the beginning of NBA All-Star Weekend and issued the following statement:
Cleveland Public Power has been working on troubleshooting street lights for the past two weeks, with much of the concentration of that work in downtown. We have a feeder that is down and crews are working to repair it today. We anticipate all lights will be functioning properly before the start of All-Star Weekend.
Still, Carillio is concerned if all Cleveland lighting agencies don't work together to identify issues, downtown outages will be a chronic problem.
"I reported this stuff, I have reported this stuff and nothing gets done," Carillio said. “When somebody calls in and says that’s not my issue that's CPP, that’s Edison, that’s the city, that’s ODOT. I mean nothing gets done if there’s no coordination.”