CLEVELAND (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team just went to top city leaders investigating what’s being done about a problem leaving so many of you outraged after storms.
You can’t get through to Cleveland Public Power to report the power out, and you can’t find out when you’ll get your electricity back.
Yet, we’ve found you also can’t expect much to change. Not anytime soon.
For years, many of you have complained about what happens after severe weather. You sit on hold for half an hour or more calling Cleveland Public Power to report your power is out. Sitting on hold, at times, even days after severe weather.
So, we approached the mayor after a news conference shouting out we had a question about Cleveland Public Power.
He suggested we set up an interview through his public relations staff.
“We’ll set something up for you, OK?” Mayor Justin Bibb said.
“All right, I’m holding you to that,” we responded. We told a spokesman there, “Hear that? He said he’ll set something up.”
But, the mayor never agreed to meet with us about your concerns with Cleveland Public Power.
City hall then told us the head of public utilities would speak, but only by phone.
“In 2023, why can’t there be a better system for people to report their outages?” we asked Public Utilities Director Martin Keane.
“Some people do decide to stay on the line until they can talk to a person, and that’s when we run into the problem,” Keane said.
The director points out that people can report outages online, and if they call, they should hear a message saying where Cleveland Public Power knows of outages.
But last month, two days after severe weather, callers to the “trouble” line heard, “Our trouble crews are looking for the cause of the outage.”
So, we said to the director, “I don’t hear you say that anything’s going to change.”
“We learn from every event and we learned from this event, and we will continue to try to get better,” he said.
Some of you also complained after the last storm that you didn’t even see Cleveland Public Power repair crews. The utilities director says that does not mean they weren’t out.
He adds that when the power goes out, it’s very hard to tell you, even roughly, when you’ll get back your electricity. However, FirstEnergy has made a practice after big storms of predicting when communities might expect their power back.
“We are exploring every available resource to communicate to our customers,” Keane said.
We’ve also shown you, three years ago, the city talked about putting in a top-of-the-line system to handle your calls about power outages, but that never happened.
Now, the mayor isn’t talking. Cleveland Public Power has promised to do better, but for now, no change in how you get help after a storm.