On two occasions in the last month and a half, residents along Spring Grove in Westerville have lost power after supports on AEP poles gave way, causing AEP equipment to fall into Westerville Division of Electric equipment.

On two occasions in the last month and a half, residents along Spring Grove in Westerville have lost power after supports on AEP poles gave way, causing AEP equipment to fall into Westerville Division of Electric equipment.

At about 6:30 p.m. June 8, the wooden cross arm on an AEP pole failed, sending the conductor into contact with a Westerville electric distribution circuit that's housed on same pole, Westerville Division of Electric Manager Andrew Boatright said.

About 6,000 Westerville electric customers lost power as a result.

"Within an hour, we were able to restore all but about 560 of those customers," Boatright said. "Those 560 customers were without power for the duration of the event, which extended into the early morning hours, about 12:30 in the morning, on (June 9)."

A similar incident occurred nearby along Spring Road at about 1:30 p.m. July 18, when a wooden cross arm failed, sending AEP equipment into Westerville conductors.

"This time, the initially affected customers were the same group (of about 560 customers) that were affected by the long duration on June 8," Boatright said.

To allow AEP to make its repairs, the Westerville Division of Electric cut power to one of its substations for about five minutes, affecting the same 6,000 customers who lost power in June.

From there, the majority of customers had their power restored quickly, Boatright said.

"For an extended period then, while the repairs were made, we were able to isolate circuitry, thereby only having about 100 customers out for the longer duration," he said. "All told, those customers would have been out about five and a half, six hours."

There were no obvious external factors that caused the cross arms to fail in either case, Boatright said, although AEP is investigating.

It was an odd coincidence that two similar failures occurred in the same area in such a short period of time, Boatright said.

"It's very unusual that we would have one of these events, let alone two," he said.