(WJW) – Could anything be done to minimize the number and length of power outages in Northeast Ohio after last week’s powerful storms?  

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, the state agency that oversees electric utilities in Ohio, is asking for a review to see if the outages were handled properly. 

More than a week after powerful storms uprooted trees and knocked out power to thousands in Northeast Ohio, hundreds of residents are still waiting for the lights to come back on. 

“PUCO monitors system-wide reliability, and as with any major outage, we will be communicating with Ohio’s utilities to do an after-action review and determine what steps can be taken to avoid future occurrences,” said Jenifer French. 

Last Wednesday, French, chair of the PUCO, announced during a meeting that the regulatory agency would look into why some neighborhoods lost power, others did not and some communities have been without electricity for more than a week. 

“We actually do this for nearly every outage there is,” said PUCO spokesman Matt Schilling. 

Schilling says the review does not imply that any utility company did anything wrong. 

“I think it’s a little too early for the regulators to be knowing if something was done correctly or incorrectly. That’s not something we like to judge on the fly, and so that’s why a deeper dive will be done this summer to better understand how the outages happened,” he said. 

FirstEnergy released a statement, reading in part, “The storm damage our utility crews were up against in the field was extensive. They worked as quickly and safely as possible to restore power to more than 95% of impacted customers by Saturday morning, and all storm-related outages were restored as of Monday, June 20th.” 

American Electric Power, or AEP, says the outages were caused by high winds combined with the high temperatures and increased demand for power. 

The company’s statement reads, in part, “The factor that determined which communities were impacted by the forced emergency outages was whether their local substation was served by overloaded transmission line. Those stations were forced into emergency outages to prevent potentially more extensive damage to the grid.” 

“I’d like to thank those working around the clock to restore power as quickly and safely as possible, especially the line workers in the field. You all are putting in long hours in this extreme heat and we greatly appreciate the important work you are doing to help bring out communities back online,” said French.