American Electric Power believes it can put a stop to the power outages that have plagued Muirfield Village subdivision residents for years.

American Electric Power believes it can put a stop to the power outages that have plagued Muirfield Village subdivision residents for years.

The company is spending millions of dollars to upgrade equipment that delivers electricity to homes.

Residents have campaigned for a fix. During the most recent outage July 14, 2,386 customers lost power for four hours on a clear day.

"There are frequent interruptions for no discernable cause," said Bob Fathman, chairman of the Muirfield Village civic action committee.

AEP plans to complete work by September 2009 to reduce the number of outages in the area, spokeswoman Vikki Michaelski said.

The company sent letters to residents last month to notify them of the work.

Fathman has been in contact with AEP since 2005, but said he didn't see real progress until he involved the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio earlier this year.

"I started getting several e-mails from people stating they had never had such poor electric service," Fathman said. "A light went off in my head and I thought, of my 17 years in Muirfield I had either ignored it or accepted it as a way of life, which shouldn't be."

AEP announced plans in 2006 to upgrade underground electric cable and committed $4.3-million to the project, Michaelski said. Since then, AEP has re-evaluated its plan and will be contributing $8.8-million in the next 15 months to complete work in the area.

"That money specifically will go to revitalizing or replacing 79 miles of nearly 90 miles of underground electric cable in the Muirfield Village subdivision," Michaelski said.

AEP has 34 miles of cable left to treat and six miles to replace. AEP also will replace about 10 miles of mainline cable as well as two miles of feeder exit cable, about 90 transformers and five switchgear units, according to the letter sent to residents by AEP.

Work also is being completed to upgrade a Sawmill substation that services the area, Michaelski said.

"AEP does have a plan to address the outages in the area," said John Williams, division chief in the service monitoring and enforcement department with the PUCO. "The only downside, with any plan, it's going to take some time to implement it."

Fathman said he's happy to see more money directed for the project.

"This is a perfect example of what a citizens group can do," Fathman said. "This is a citizens group getting active and our reward is millions of dollars of AEP money to fix the system."

The work requires trenching and boring in the utility right of way, Michaelski said. Residents will be notified at least two weeks in advance of outages associated with construction, according to information from the city. The day of the work, AEP will knock on residents' doors to advise them of the work.

The PUCO will continue to monitor AEP's work throughout the process.

"We'll make sure the desired outcome is reached," Williams said. "We'll be working with AEP to set up some sort of reporting schedule, probably monthly, to monitor progress and outages. As the program progresses, we should see those outages slowly decline and we all hope come down close to zero. But we'll continue to monitor the situation even after the work is complete."

Residents will be able to speak with AEP representatives later this year. AEP agreed to meet with the Muirfield Village Civic Association in October and next spring, according to the city.

Dublin City Council is expected to discuss the matter with AEP during its Aug. 4 meeting.