Tri-Village News

AEP official explains Marble Cliff power outages


Representatives from American Electric Power attended the Aug. 19 meeting of Marble Cliff Village Council to shed some light on why a series of power outages occurred earlier this year in the village.

In May, a vehicle struck a utility pole, knocking out power for more than six hours throughout the village.

Over a six-week period in May and June, four outages of a total of 13 hours occurred.

"Our concern is if there is a greater issue that has to be addressed," Mayor Kent Studebaker told Frank Brunson, an AEP engineer, during the meeting.

Brunson said the main culprit appears to be a malfunctioning recloser, which may have to be replaced.

The recloser is the gray box attached to the utility pole, he said. It is a circuit breaker equipped with a mechanism that can automatically close the breaker after it has been opened due to a fault.

If it is working properly, a recloser should limit a power outage to only the customers located down the line from the device, Brunson said.

But since the recloser in question appears defective, it meant all of the customers on the circuit in question -- about 1,750 -- lost power during the various incidents that occurred this summer, he said.

Even when a recloser is working, a vehicle striking a pole can be expected to cause a two- to four-hour power outage, Brunson said.

An outage is defined as a loss of power that lasts more than five minutes. One that lasts less than five minutes is considered a "momentary," he said.

The four outages occurring during the six-week period likely were weather-related or may have been caused by tree limbs impacting the power lines, Brunson said.

AEP has a four-year tree trimming cycle, and the Marble Cliff area was addressed last year, he said.

If tree limbs are found to be a problem, trimming can be done, although if the tree limbs are on private property, approval of the property owner is needed, Brunson said.

A new recloser has been ordered and will be installed soon, he said.

Also at the Aug. 19 meeting, council approved the rezoning of the former Custom Coach property at 1400 Dublin Road and 2299 Cardigan Ave. that will allow redevelopment of the site.

Brad DeHays, the property's new owner, plans to move his companies, Mid-Ohio Contractor Services and Connect Realty, into the front building at 1400 Dublin Road. Other businesses, including a high-end valet service and a food commissary operation, also have signed leases to move into the building.

The commissary business will operate a test kitchen for its food trucks and a microbrewery.

Rock Solid Academy, a cheerleading and gymnastics school, will move into the rear building at 2299 Cardigan Ave.