FirstEnergy, Cleveland Public Power point fingers over weekend outage

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CLEVELAND-- There are still a lot of questions remaining after Saturday night's massive power outage.

Much of Cleveland's west side, including Gordon Square, Ohio City and Tremont, were in the dark on Saturday. The outage started shortly after 7 p.m.

The problem began when FirstEnergy's main power line, which feeds to the the entire west side via Cleveland Public Power, went down. CPP put crews on standby at substations while FirstEnergy re-energized its main lines. Service was restored to all customers just before 2 a.m. Sunday.

"We were literally on hold while CEI addressed issues at their substation," said Ivan Henderson. commissioner of CPP. "We usually work well with CEI, to their credit, but this time, repairs took longer than expected."

For the last year and a half, crews have been working to repair the line in question. It's a $5 million to $6 million project, and existing parts date back to the 1950s.

"Within the next 30 days, we cannot guarantee it won't happen again. That's the nature of electricity," Henderson said.

A FirstEnergy spokeswoman released the following statement Monday morning, placing the blame with CPP.

The Illuminating Company identified and repaired an equipment issue at a Cleveland-area substation that feeds Cleveland Public Power’s system on Saturday evening.  The outage experienced by CPP’s west side customers could have been avoided completely, however, if CPP had maintained an existing, alternate line it has in place to serve those customers.  Utility systems are typically designed with redundant lines and power feeds so that an issue with one part of the system can be addressed without causing an outage to customers.  CPP’s line has been out of service for a long time, and depending on just a line instead of maintaining a redundant system creates an unnecessary risk for customers.

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