© 2022 WKSU
Public Radio News for Northeast Ohio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

AEP ready for state regulators to review forced power outages

 Power lines run through a farm in Canal Winchester, Ohio.
Andy Chow
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Power lines run through a farm in Canal Winchester, Ohio.

Ohio utility regulators are looking into forced power outages in which a quarter of a million customers of AEP lost power after severe storms last month.

AEP President and COO Mark Reitter said its transmission organization is "working hard" to understand what happened after storms on June 13 took down over 350 poles and 2,100 wires, followed by several days with temperatures above 90 degrees.

“We have 40-year employees that never experienced these load management emergencies in Ohio particularly in an urban center like Columbus before, so we’re learning through it," Reitter said at a press conference at a south Columbus community action agency. "But I will tell you, we have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to make the infrastructure that serves Columbus resilient and as reliable as possible, and that's going to continue."

IMPACT Community Action hosted the press conference to share information for low-income residents who lost food and need assistance after those outages.

The Mid-Ohio Food Bank said it can't quantify the loss from the power outage, but said almost a thousand families came to its pantry in Grove City on the Tuesday at the height of the outages and over 400 families at its Columbus-based market.

AEP won't reimburse for spoiled food. Reitter said in Ohio, utilities are not liable for "acts of God." But AEP donated $1 million to local organizations such as IMPACT Community Action and the Mid-Ohio Food Bank.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio will hold a briefing July 13 with AEP and the regional transmission organization, PJM Interconnection.

Critics have said AEP forced outages in low-income neighborhoods, but AEP has said that was a call by PJM.
Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.