Wed, Jun 22, 2022 3:39 PM
By J.D. Davidson, The Center Square
Add Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to the list wanting answers from the state’s largest power provider about outages last week during a record-setting heat wave.
DeWine announced Tuesday he supports the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio’s review of outages related to American Electric Power and all companies that serve the state following violent storms that ripped through the state a little more than a week ago.
Heat indexes climbed to more than 100 degrees in the days following the storm, which led to planned rolling blackouts in several areas of the state.
“On Wednesday, June 15, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio announced that it would conduct a review of all Ohio’s electric utilities related to electric power outages following storms that occurred on June 13th and actions that those utilities may or may not have taken,” DeWine said.
DeWine said he wants answers as to what steps are being taken to make sure similar outages don’t happen again and why certain neighborhoods lost power and some did not. He’s also concerned that some communities in northeast Ohio went nearly a week without power, and wants to know did companies communicate planned blackouts well enough considering the fact some electronic communication cannot be accessed without electricity.
DeWine’s statement came several days after a group of Ohio Democratic lawmakers wrote a letter to AEP President and COO Marc Reitter asking for answers as to customers, communities and hospitals were not notified and how communities were selected for outages.
Also, PUCO Chairwoman Jennifer French announced an after-action review of the outages caused by storms and the planned outages.
“We’ve been closely monitoring the outages. 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,” French said in a statement during Thursday’s PUCO meeting. “These outages have caused not only inconveniences but serious problems for residents and businesses in the affected areas.”
The Ohio Consumers’ Council is calling for a PUCO investigation, rather than a review, of the outages.
AEP Ohio is the state’s largest utility, serving about 1.5 million residential and commercial customers in central, southeast and northwest Ohio.