AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — With multiple reports of power outages in Austintown since the beginning of the year, many people within the township are trying to find answers.
“First of all, cut the bull. Cut the bull, get to the, ya know, to tell us the truth,” said Filomena Riccioni, owner of Wedgewood Fernando’s Pizza along Raccoon Road.
Residents and business owners, like Riccioni are searching for answers after multiple power outages in Austintown since the first of the year.
“I shouldn’t have to brag that we’re really professionals at working in the dark. We have headlamps, flashlights, I mean I have the whole gear. I have emergency lighting. We know the routine when the power goes out,” said Riccioni.
A routine that Riccioni is sick of is starting to affect the income of her business.
“Ya know, I’m still paying full price. None of the businesses here are getting recouped for the business lost,” said Riccioni.
Riccioni said she’s not alone, even the trustees are trying to step in to figure out what’s going on.
“I feel deep in my heart, I do feel their frustration,” said Austintown Township Trustee Robert Santos.
Santos said all of the trustees are working together to find answers for the residents.
“We’re here to fight for you and we’re going to do what can to ensure this does not happen as frequently as it normally has been,” said Santos.
FirstEnergy told trustees it’s a combination of reasons out of their control, like severe weather and vehicle accidents, and an equipment issue within a substation. FirstEnergy’s full statement is below.
Ohio Edison’s goal is to continue to deliver the safe and reliable power our customers depend on, and we understand recent service disruptions have been frustrating for local residents.
Despite our proactive efforts to inspect, maintain and upgrade our infrastructure, power outages can still occur. Recent outages in the area have been due to a combination of reasons out of our control, like severe weather and vehicle accidents, and an equipment issue within a substation that is currently being addressed by our utility personnel.
Due to the complexity of the electric system, not all equipment issues can be identified and addressed immediately. Our crews have been making safe, temporary repairs to restore power to customers as quickly as possible while they troubleshoot equipment to determine the exact source of the outages. Our utility personnel will continue working throughout the day today to determine a permanent solution to resolve this equipment issue.
We will continue to proactively inspect and maintain our equipment in the area to help identify potential problems before they cause service interruptions.FirstEnergy spokesperson Lauren Siburkis
However, residents think the energy company isn’t being transparent.
“We’ve had trees and winds and stuff like that. There’s something else going on,” said Austintown resident Brandy Thompson.
Thompson is a lifelong resident of Austintown and she said the outages have never been this bad.
“I’ve set my clock on my stove more times this month than I have my whole life,” said Thompson.
Thompson worries about her neighbors that need power for various medical equipment. Just a few blocks over from her house is David Bees who relies on power to keep him alive.
“That’s my concern. That’s why I’m reaching out to you, and I’m letting you know that we do something about this,” said Bees.
Bees said he is hoping local leaders can step in to prevent this issue from occurring.