Ohio Edison says numbers aren’t unusual, despite recent outages

WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – It may seem like there have been more power outages recently but Ohio Edison said the numbers have actually remained steady through the years.

A power line is still laying across the parking lot of Convenient Food Mart at Tod Avenue and Parkman Road in Warren. Monday brought a morning of disruption in the neighborhood.

“About 5:00 this morning, I noticed the power was out at my house. I looked outside and saw three poles down on the ground,” Scott Trask said.

First Energy put new poles up and returned the power lines to their place.

Work at Automotive Enterprise had to be stopped until the electricity came back on.

“I couldn’t get any work done until now. It’s lunchtime, I can actually come back in and do some work,” Bob Sturdevant said.

Ohio and Pennsylvania are among the top six states with the most reported power outages. But Ohio Edison statistics show fewer customers had a power disruption last year than six years ago.

Without a doubt, falling trees are the number one cause of outages.

“As we always say, the storms find the weakest trees and weakest branches and bring them down,” said Chris Eck, with Ohio Edison. “Sometimes it weakens others.”

Every four years, trees are trimmed around power lines. Ohio Edison spent $371 million this year on major projects to reduce the number and duration of power outages.

“Across Ohio, our average customer is out for about 45 minutes a year,” Eck said.

That covers the 34 Ohio counties from Toledo to Youngstown and then some.

First Energy realizes the change of season is a big factor for most of its coverage area.

“Have patience with us during these shoulder months when the weather is unpredictable because you’re likely to see a slight uptick in downtime,” Eck said.

But there is some good news before winter arrives.

“We seemed to have a late fall this year and we’re glad to see most of the leaves are down before the first snow because that can create a big problem for us as well,” Eck said. “If leaves are still on the tree, they can hold the first snow and that can do a lot of damage.”

While falling trees are the number one thing to knock out power, animal contact comes in second and cars running into poles are third.