CLEVELAND (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has found that many people again couldn’t get through to Cleveland Public Power to report electricity outages, so we’re investigating why it happens every time we get hit by a bad storm.
When the I-Team went to headquarters for Cleveland Public Power (CPP), a security officer locked the door to keep us out.
Wednesday, a vicious storm system knocked down trees and power lines, leaving people throughout Northeast Ohio without electricity.
The I-Team quickly heard from people saying they were left on hold in the dark when they tried to report an outage to Cleveland Public Power.
The I-Team first revealed this problem last November.
So, when the I-Team learned of the same problem still happening, we went to Cleveland Public Power headquarters.
As we opened an outer door, a utility police officer locked the doors to the main lobby.
We asked ‘Why did you lock the door?’
The officer responded, “I have to have permission to open it.”
After Wednesday’s big storm, Sue Mellinger told the I-Team she couldn’t get through to report the power being out on West 100th Street.
“I’ve called them several times. I went, I think, to about a half-hour,” she said. “I was hoping someone would answer, but no one ever did.”
A CPP trouble line recording tells callers, “All of our trouble dispatchers are helping other customers.”
Even 18 hours after that storm, the I-Team found Sue and her husband could not get through to CPP.
“Irritating. It’s irritating,” she said.
Back at Cleveland Public Power headquarters, a spokesperson came to the door, but she didn’t open it. She said nothing to explain why so many city residents have so much trouble reporting power outages following storms.
Through the glass, the spokesperson said, “No on-camera interviews.”
Her reason for no interviews was simply, “Because we’re not giving any.”
The I TEAM told her, “We’re trying to ask, ‘Why does this always happen, and what’s being done about it? Can you tell us?’“
The spokesperson answered, “No, I can’t.”
Last year, the city told the I-Team it planned to buy a new system to handle up to 1,800 calls at once, but that never happened.
Now, another storm took out power, and FOX 8 viewers tell us they’re again having endless waits to get through.
Many people making reports online are getting back a message indicating their email didn’t go through. However, a social media posting by the city says those emails are getting through despite the “error message.”
For all the bills residents pay to Cleveland Public Power, CPP still can’t give you a simple way to report a problem.
Mellinger said it shouldn’t be this hard. She told us she finally got her power back Thursday afternoon, but she and other customers never got an answer when they called Cleveland Public Power.
People at headquarters went to great lengths to not give the I-Team answers to questions.