Dublin residents have waited for years for American Electric Power to offer solutions to their power outage problems. Now that changes have been proposed, city officials want to make sure they're implemented in a timely manner.

Dublin residents have waited for years for American Electric Power to offer solutions to their power outage problems. Now that changes have been proposed, city officials want to make sure they're implemented in a timely manner.

Dublin officials will meet with officials from AEP next week to discuss the situation, said Tammy Brown of the city's economic development department.

"We want to make sure we have a commitment and a time frame for that plan to be completed," Brown said.

Dublin filed a formal complaint against AEP with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in August. The filing outlines six measures the city is demanding AEP make within designated time periods. The measures include items such as making infrastructure improvements and solving service related issues.

"We want to upgrade the system there and do it in a way that works with the way the city would like to see it accomplished," said AEP spokeswoman Vikki Michaelski.

AEP was expected to respond to Dublin's complaint with the PUCO by Sept. 8, but the company filed for an extension until Oct. 1. The extension was granted so Dublin and AEP could meet before a formal hearing with the PUCO.

"In these types of situations the company and the complainant try to work out something informally rather than going through a formal process," said Beth Trombold, director of public affairs for the PUCO. "If the parties can't resolve the issues, we'll host mediation for them to talk."

The city and residents have been trying for years to resolve the power outage problems, according to hundreds of pages of correspondence obtained by ThisWeek Community Newspapers through a public records request.

The city's complaint with the PUCO included the names of 40 residents frustrated with AEP service issues.

"My husband works from home and when outages occur, it disrupts work, which then carries over into a disruption of family life when that work must be completed at a later time," wrote a resident of Springburn Drive.

A resident of Memorial Drive wrote she has to leave her garage door unlocked during power outages, leaving it susceptible to break-ins. The resident also said she has thrown out dinner countless times because the power went out while she was preparing the meal.

Another resident, who lives on Scotscraig Court, wrote, "We moved away from Muirfield, were gone for seven years and returned 13 years ago. We had problems with electricity outages the first time we lived here and were astonished the problems still existed when we came back in 1995."

In an e-mail to the city in July, Mayor Marilee Chinnici-Zuercher called it "truly not an acceptable situation in our community. Since this is not an isolated situation, I believe it is time we look at going to the PUCO and demanding immediate action and rebate to customers."

Chinnici-Zuercher wrote that the plan proposed by AEP was taking too long to implement and "it doesn't matter what the utility company's excuse is, our residents are being negatively affected on a regular basis."

AEP announced plans in 2006 to upgrade underground electric cable and committed $4.3-million to the project. Since then, AEP has re-evaluated and expanded its plan and has said it will contribute $8.8-million to complete work in the area.

The money will go to revitalizing or replacing 79 miles of nearly 90 miles of underground electric cable in the Muirfield Village subdivision, replacing about 10 miles of mainline cable as well as two miles of feeder exit cable, about 90 transformers and five switchgear units. Work also is being completed to upgrade a Sawmill substation that services the area. AEP officials presented this information to Dublin City Council at a meeting in August.

Despite a potential delay resulting from the Sept. 14 windstorm, AEP still plans to complete the work by September 2009, Michaelski said.