SUNBURY — The village recently took the unusual step of asking a utility company to explain the frequency of power outages to the community.
Two representatives from American Electric Power Ohio updated Sunbury Village Council at its meeting Aug. 19. The minutes mentioned “the expansion currently going on,” “the development along Cheshire Road,” and “the reason for this meeting is the recent outages and if the improvements will stop the outages.”
Mayor Tommy Hatfield asked about the recent outages on the east side of Sunbury, and Frank Brunson of AEP “replied that this was all related to the upgrades,” the minutes read. Council asked AEP to document the improvements and provide a timeline for completion.
On Nov. 19, the village’s Facebook page and website provided AEP’s response, “Improving electric service in Sunbury.” The information is also available on AEP’s website.
“While we’ve taken a number of steps to improve the reliability of your service, we still have work to do to make sure it meets your standards and ours,” AEP said. “This spring, we removed nearly 400 trees threatening your electric service and trimmed an additional 3,400 trees. We truly appreciate your patience and are committed to improving the electric service in your community.”
The tree maintenance takes place at least once every four years, AEP Ohio said. In October, AEP crews completed additional equipment repair. Several electric poles and a transformer will be replaced, as well. AEP inspected nearly 11,000 feet of underground cable, repairing nearly 5,000 feet. The company also installed 18 smart sensors on its equipment.
AEP went on to say that forestry work is underway through December. “Our forestry crews are currently working to assess the trees along more than 30 miles of our lines and equipment, and trim back or remove any that pose a threat to your electric service. If any hazardous trees fall outside of our right-of-way, we’ll work with property owners to determine the best course of action. As always, the goal is to prevent longer and unpredictable future outages by keeping hazardous trees away from our power lines and other equipment.”
In a frequently-asked question portion of the page, AEP said, “Fallen trees and branches are one of the most common causes of power outages. Just one tree limb can knock out power to hundreds or even thousands of customers. Interfering limbs can also slow down our crews working to get the power back on following an outage.”
“Council members encourage residents to continue to contact AEP Ohio with electric issues and make them aware of specific areas of concern,” the village said. The AEP Ohio Customer Support number is 1-800-672-2231.
Speaking of utilities, the village also posted the following on Facebook, “Starting Nov. 2, 2020, the state of Ohio, working with local community action agencies, will help eligible Ohioans who are behind on rent, mortgage, and water and/or sewer utility bills catch up on past payments back to April 1, 2020 and provide additional assistance through Dec. 30, 2020. Ohioans will apply for assistance through their local Community Action Agency starting Nov. 2, 2020. Ohioans can find their local Community Action Agency by visiting BusinessHelp.Ohio.Gov.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.