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Cleveland Public Power, FirstEnergy exchange blame over weekend outage

Most of Cleveland's west side was left in the dark overnight Saturday.

CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Public Power said in a news conference Monday confirmed the west side power outage that occurred over the weekend was a result of a broken line in need of maintenance.

A power outage left much of Cleveland's west side dark overnight Saturday. Cleveland Public Power re-energized the line from a CEI substation on Clinton to Ridge Road, and crews made adjustments at substations to fully restore power.

FirstEnergy feeds power through that main line to CPP. Sources at FirstEnergy told WKYC that CPP also operates a secondary line for the west side, but it has been out of service for more than a year. The outage could have been avoided had this alternate line been maintained, FirstEnergy told WKYC.

However, CPP couldn't confirm the cause of the outage and delay to restore power was a result of the inoperable alternate line. CPP spokesman Ivan Henderson denied that CPP has been neglecting its responsibility to repair the line, adding that CPP is currently working on two extensive projects to resolve the issue.

"We're very close to both restorations and that will address the redundancy issue and provide a highly reliable system to provide service to our west side customers," Henderson said.

Henderson also said CPP and CEI typically work well together but in this instance, it took CEI "longer than we expected" to address issues at its substation, which resulted in the lengthy outage.

The outage left some local businesses irked over losing customers. It also impacted the Cleveland Zoo's Asian Lantern Festival, causing the zoo to add an extra weekend for the event. Approximately 40,000 people were affected by the outage, Henderson said.

Cleveland PP also said its automated phone system experienced a glitch that made it seem as if it was hanging up on callers, which was not the case.

As CPP continues work to alleviate issues with the inoperable line, Henderson said CPP can't promise another outage won't happen again this month. The cable under repair is expected to be back in service by the end of September and the new transmission line should be in service in early 2019.

"Within the next 30 days, we cannot guarantee that it will not happen again," he said. "That's the nature of electricity."

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