Scattered hundreds still without power | The Columbus Dispatch

There are 18 comments on the Columbus Dispatch story from Feb 5, 2011, titled Scattered hundreds still without power | The Columbus Dispatch. In it, Columbus Dispatch reports that:

An American Electric Power repairman works at Leonard and Taylor avenues north of I-670, northeast of Downtown.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Columbus Dispatch.

Prepare

United States

#1 Feb 5, 2011
Have a vent free gas logs or vent free fireplace put in your home. No chimney needed. No electric needed to get it running. DO - have it installed by a licensed professional. They are wonderful and not dangerous, especially compared to a gas generator.
Marie

Bellevue, OH

#2 Feb 5, 2011
I agree, a fireplace is what saved us, kept the living room near 60. It's really easy to just complain and put blame on AEP, but in reality, the weather caused this! Just sit back, stay warm, wait it out and let the guys do their jobs. We watched a crew of guys working all day Thursday trying to restore our power - tree trimmers came out, new poles got installed, then finally electricity came on.
Grumpy

Zanesville, OH

#3 Feb 5, 2011
AEP does not perform maintenance on their lines and does not have enough Lineman to keep up system repairs. This Ice storm was not that severe and they still had to get crews from other areas.Customer service is not a priority!
CollegeProf

Perkasie, PA

#4 Feb 5, 2011
I lived in far more weather affected northern climates for more than 20 years and never once experienced an electrical outage. In the years I lived in Clintonville, I lost count of the total number of times the electricity went out.

AEP gets away with not investing in a better infrastructure because its customers don't demand more. The argument that it is "just the weather" only goes so far -- the rest is AEP reducing its maintenance costs to increase its profits. If the customers are fine with that, I guess there's nothing to be done. But if people are not, they should demand more. Otherwise, it is just business as usual.

Since: Jan 11

Location hidden

#5 Feb 5, 2011
CollegeProf wrote:
I lived in far more weather affected northern climates for more than 20 years and never once experienced an electrical outage. In the years I lived in Clintonville, I lost count of the total number of times the electricity went out.
AEP gets away with not investing in a better infrastructure because its customers don't demand more. The argument that it is "just the weather" only goes so far -- the rest is AEP reducing its maintenance costs to increase its profits. If the customers are fine with that, I guess there's nothing to be done. But if people are not, they should demand more. Otherwise, it is just business as usual.
Did you live in northern climes that were less susceptible to icing? That's the big bugaboo and utilities know they're going to have problems when an ice storm is on the way.

Sometimes the grid can hold up reasonably well even under blizzard conditions if the trees don't start going down and the wires don't get coated.
NotGrumpy

Cardington, OH

#6 Feb 5, 2011
Grumpy wrote:
AEP does not perform maintenance on their lines and does not have enough Lineman to keep up system repairs. This Ice storm was not that severe and they still had to get crews from other areas.Customer service is not a priority!
I agree the ice wasnt that sever, but the 40-60 mph winds were. The fact that they did bring in 100's of other people to help shows they do care. Exactly how many lineman do you think they should have. The job they do is extremely dificult and dangerous so it takes time to do it safely. There isnt really much you can do when good old mother nature decides she wants to show of a little.
Bob

Columbus, OH

#7 Feb 5, 2011
Marie wrote:
I agree, a fireplace is what saved us, kept the living room near 60. It's really easy to just complain and put blame on AEP, but in reality, the weather caused this! Just sit back, stay warm, wait it out and let the guys do their jobs. We watched a crew of guys working all day Thursday trying to restore our power - tree trimmers came out, new poles got installed, then finally electricity came on.
People are blaming AEP only after 3 or 4 days of power loss. There is absolutely no excuse for a big company that pays out millions of dollars in bonuses and in dividends to take five (5) days to restore power. The point is that they are worried only about their bottom-line profits. They waited for several days to call in contract professionals from outside Ohio to restore power to some areas - instead, they could have called them on the very first day of the storm and hence restoring power to all areas within a day or two, at the most. They tried to see if their cheaper options can be used to restore power to everyone and since it did not work, they went ahead and called contractors. AEP is just very prompt on giving bonuses to their executives - but will wait for several days to restore power to the poor. IT IS ALL ABOUT MONEY FOR AEP. THIS IS HAPPENING ONLY IN OHIO SINCE THE SO CALLED REGULATORS ARE AT THE BECK AND CALL OF THESE AEP EXECS. THE TRUTH IS WE NEED TO THROW THESE GOVERNMENT REGULATORY LAWYERS OUT OF THE PICTURE TO SEE ANY IMPROVEMENT IN AEP'S SERVICE. THERE GOVERNMENT LAWYERS ARE PAID BY AEP TO ENJOY THEIR STATUS QUO.
CollegeProf

Perkasie, PA

#8 Feb 5, 2011
Biggie BC wrote:
<quoted text>
Did you live in northern climes that were less susceptible to icing? That's the big bugaboo and utilities know they're going to have problems when an ice storm is on the way.
Sometimes the grid can hold up reasonably well even under blizzard conditions if the trees don't start going down and the wires don't get coated.
Yes, as a matter of fact, I did. In addition, we generally got much more snow than here. Perhaps burying the wires and cables would help to alleviate the situation with ice-coated trees falling on them. That seemed to be the solution in many of those northern climate areas, in addition to better overall maintenance and service.
CollegeProf

Perkasie, PA

#9 Feb 5, 2011
NotGrumpy wrote:
<quoted text>
I agree the ice wasnt that sever, but the 40-60 mph winds were. The fact that they did bring in 100's of other people to help shows they do care. Exactly how many lineman do you think they should have. The job they do is extremely dificult and dangerous so it takes time to do it safely. There isnt really much you can do when good old mother nature decides she wants to show of a little.
Sure you can -- you can prepare for it in the first place.

Every year, there are windstorms and snowstorms that affect the electrical grid, pretty much at the same time of year, and every year, it's the same routine. Wait for the electricity to go out and then strand thousands of customers in the dark and cold while the repair crews methodically go about restoring the electricity.

A more sensible solution would be to build a stronger infrastructure in the first place so that the expected problems don't cause the routine disruptions.

Instead, AEP reduces its maintenance programs to the barebones or eliminates them altogether, waiting until an emergency to finally bring in people -- from out of state -- to work in areas they are not only unfamiliar with, but also in the worst weather conditions. This is all done to simply affect the bottom line, and AEP has taken money that could be reinvested into providing better services -- something many companies would have done in decades past -- and instead pay it out in executive bonuses and shareholder dividends.

It keeps its stock values up while the customers suffer.

If the company was Abercrombie and Fitch or some other useless luxury peddler, I wouldn't care at all, but because AEP provides a basic and vital service, it should act on a higher standard than simply maximizing profits at the expense of its customers. Several people are now dead as a direct or indirect result, and thousands of others suffered.
Grumpy

Zanesville, OH

#10 Feb 5, 2011
NotGrumpy wrote:
<quoted text>
I agree the ice wasnt that sever, but the 40-60 mph winds were. The fact that they did bring in 100's of other people to help shows they do care. Exactly how many lineman do you think they should have. The job they do is extremely dificult and dangerous so it takes time to do it safely. There isnt really much you can do when good old mother nature decides she wants to show of a little.
I know how difficult the Lineman,s job can be,worked for over 40 Years as a Journeyman lineman.I know a lot of these Lineman and they are hard working men who don't get enogh credit for the job they perform everyday. I am not going to argue here about the number of lineman they should have because I do not think you have aclue about the operations of an Electric Utility.
Linda

Galloway, OH

#11 Feb 5, 2011
I'm sure by now these poor people have busted pipes, rotten food. This is ridiculous on the part of AEP. What if we had a real emergency?
chalky

Columbus, OH

#12 Feb 5, 2011
I'm getting a Guardian automatic standby generator. Runs on natural gas. Costs several grand but well worth it compared to spending thousands on hotels, food, and power outage related property fix's every 2-3 years.
chalky

Columbus, OH

#13 Feb 5, 2011
Marie wrote:
I agree, a fireplace is what saved us, kept the living room near 60. It's really easy to just complain and put blame on AEP, but in reality, the weather caused this! Just sit back, stay warm, wait it out and let the guys do their jobs. We watched a crew of guys working all day Thursday trying to restore our power - tree trimmers came out, new poles got installed, then finally electricity came on.
I heard that companies like AEP and Duke ENergy laid off hundreds / thousands of salaried lineman and now just have "roving repair crews" that criss cross the USA for natural dissasters.

Saves them money I guess.
chalky

Columbus, OH

#14 Feb 5, 2011
Prepare wrote:
Have a vent free gas logs or vent free fireplace put in your home. No chimney needed. No electric needed to get it running. DO - have it installed by a licensed professional. They are wonderful and not dangerous, especially compared to a gas generator.
Friends of mine have this vent free "wood stove looking" gas heater that runs on a gas line. They use it to heat up their Florida Room in the winter. The thing puts out some serious heat, and doesn't require electricity.
Norman

Germantown, OH

#15 Feb 6, 2011
My neighborhood's outage occurred due to a huge limb downing lines at the back of my property. When I called to report, of course you can never speak to a real person. They also ask for your ten-digit account number. Mine is 11 digits. So are the accounts of everyone else I asked. So it did not go through the first time. The machine finally asked me to input the phone number associated with the account. Then they were supposedly tranferring me to a real person, but "all agents are busy . Goodbye." and was disconnected. I never WAS able to give them the exact address where it had fallen apart - obviously they figured it out, but it would have been nice to be able to give accurate information

“Cats rule.”

Since: Dec 09

Chardon Ohio.

#16 Feb 6, 2011
chalky wrote:
I'm getting a Guardian automatic standby generator. Runs on natural gas. Costs several grand but well worth it compared to spending thousands on hotels, food, and power outage related property fix's every 2-3 years.
Right after that big blackout a few years ago,I bought a 4,000 watt generator for $200.00.That thing runs everything that I want it to with no problems.I also have a kerosene heater for heat.But to anybody that wants to use one of those,you have to crack a window a little bit,because they deplete the oxygen from the air pretty fast.No more food loss for me,thank you.

“Cats rule.”

Since: Dec 09

Chardon Ohio.

#17 Feb 6, 2011
Norman wrote:
My neighborhood's outage occurred due to a huge limb downing lines at the back of my property. When I called to report, of course you can never speak to a real person. They also ask for your ten-digit account number. Mine is 11 digits. So are the accounts of everyone else I asked. So it did not go through the first time. The machine finally asked me to input the phone number associated with the account. Then they were supposedly tranferring me to a real person, but "all agents are busy . Goodbye." and was disconnected. I never WAS able to give them the exact address where it had fallen apart - obviously they figured it out, but it would have been nice to be able to give accurate information
But if you dont pay your bill on time,they dont waste a minute telling you about it,right?

Since: Jan 11

Location hidden

#18 Feb 6, 2011
chalky wrote:
I'm getting a Guardian automatic standby generator. Runs on natural gas. Costs several grand but well worth it compared to spending thousands on hotels, food, and power outage related property fix's every 2-3 years.
That's a great solution, but with some caveats.

We have a backup generator at work and, guess what, sometimes when the power goes out it doesn't work. The battery is dead, the fuel pump fails, don't test it, e.t.c. We don't pay enough attention to it when the weather is fine and, when a crisis hits, it's too late.

I would urge you make another investment: scrupulous adherence to the manufacturer's maintenance schedule, especially entering winter.

Good luck.

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