STRONGSVILLE, Ohio - MarK Grebey of Strongsville claims his family has dealt with 50 power outages in the past five years, and he said he's received few answers from FirstEnergy as to when his electric service reliability will improve.
Grebey was so frustrated, he expressed his concerns in an editorial published in the Strongsville Post last week.
"The amount of outages we've had is not consistent with what I would call a high level of service," Grebey told NewsChannel5 Troubleshooter Joe Pagonakis. "I know many of us in the neighborhood have been left frustrated, I can't imagine what these outages would do to someone who relies on home medical equipment."
5 On Your Side took Grebey's complaints to FirstEnergy corporate headquarters in Akron, and the company responded immediately.
"it's and inconvenience, and we apologize for that," said FirstEnergy Director of Communications Mark Durbin. "Hopefully the work we're doing will take care of that, not just for this customer, but for others in Strongsville, and others in northeast Ohio.
Durbin blamed the outages on a series of underground lines that were installed in the mid 1970s.
"What happens is, over time, when a wire is underground, the freeze and thaw of the ground action loosens it over time," explained Durbin. "Maybe you have a spot where water gets in, and that's what is causing problems."
Durbin outlined $2.5 million in underground line improvement projects, that are now under way in 11 Strongsville neighborhoods.
Durbin told NewsChannel5 the projects will be completed before the end of the year, and he said he believes the new underground lines will reduce the number of outages dramatically.
"We realize there are some issues, but we have a plan in place to fix those issues," said Durbin.
Durbin explained the new lines will be placed into high tech conduit for greater life and reliability.
Meanwhile, Grebey seemed satisfied when we presented him with the FirstEnergy improvement plan, but he remained cautiously optimistic.
"This plan looks good, I wish they would have communicated this upgrade to us in a better fashion," said Grebey. "My neighbors and I are taking a 'wait and see' on this one."