Cleveland Public Power call center not staffed on Sunday despite high winds in forecast

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CLEVELAND (WJW)– The FOX 8 I-Team uncovered why so many of residents couldn’t get an answer when you called Cleveland Public Power to report outages and wires down after fierce winds.

We’ve found the CPP call center was closed. Now that we’ve been digging into this for days, the city of Cleveland told us it is taking steps to prevent a repeat of what happened Sunday.

Last Sunday, 5,000 calls poured in with only a handful of people to answer. Turns out, the Cleveland Public Power call center is closed on Sundays, even though the FOX 8 weather forecasts predicted dangerous winds and likely damage.

We broke the news to Jann Smith, one of many residents forced to call again and again trying to get through while waiting endlessly on hold.

“I don’t understand that. They want our money. But, they don’t have anyone at the cell center. That’s unacceptable,” Smith said.

No one at Cleveland City Hall would face questions from the I -Team on camera. No one down the block at Cleveland Public Power would do it either. For days, we contacted city officials directly. Plus, we contacted a half dozen people paid to handle inquiries from the news media. No one would stand up to explain why the system to help you failed

“CPP regularly receives forecasts for high winds, but this particular storm was unusually severe.  Typically, when we are aware of approaching storms, we hold over staff and crews–based on severity of the damage – to restore service and handle issues,” city hall eventually said in a statement.

“We have also increased the number of incoming telephone lines from approximately 120 to 260 lines. The incoming telephone lines should not receive a ‘trouble’ message. We are also planning to acquire an interactive voice response system that will take up to 1,800 calls simultaneously.”

Earlier, Cleveland City Councilman Mike Polensek spoke out. He told us many residents called him because they couldn’t get through to CPP.

“Have to have a better way of serving the public. There has to be a better system in place,” he said.

The city said, at peak, 8,797 Cleveland Public Power customers were without electricity.

Smith and many other residents have lost patience.

“I want people at the call center at all times. At all times,” she said.

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