YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A Friday off work sounds nice, but those with a group of Youngstown businesses aren’t happy they have to give one this week. It’s not a holiday or a celebration or an observance, it’s not even their decision — and that’s the issue. We looked into what is happening.
Ohio Edison is preparing for a major project on Ohio Works Drive. A backup power line is being installed on Friday and the businesses along the street have been told the power will be turned off from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“All of our guys here are going to be losing a day’s wages. The company’s going to be losing a day’s production. We are at our busiest point in our company’s history,” said Mike Garvey, with M-7 Technologies.
M-7 plans to work this weekend because of their backlog, repairing and manufacturing heavy industrial equipment. The company got a voicemail on Friday from FirstEnergy and a door hanger this week notifying them of the planned power outage. They would have liked more cooperation.
“I think it’s important for other businesses to realize how powerful Ohio Edison is right now in determining their production schedules,” Garvey said.
Garvey and M-7 are not alone. Down the street, Induction Professionals has eight employees. The company builds and repairs equipment so employees can’t work from home.
“We can’t build an induction heating coil or melting coil on our kitchen table. We’ve got a 5-ton crane, we got forklifts and on top of that, we’d be in the dark,” said Tomy Kearney, with Induction Professionals.
With no electricity, the servers will be down for these companies and so will their VOIP. It’s a situation they think could’ve been handled much better.
“Some more advance notice would’ve been helpful and I’m also curious, could they have done it on a Saturday?” Kearney wondered.
Ohio Edison says the work was scheduled around the largest industrial customer in the area, VAS USA. They also said that since it’s using most of its line crews in the Youngstown area to complete the work, doing it during the week would be the safest and most efficient. Their full statement is below.
Ohio Edison will be constructing a backup power line that will help prevent and minimize the length of power outages for 11 customers in the vicinity of Ohio Works Drive. When the full project is completed, the work will offer a backup power feed that will help keep the lights on for customers if wires or equipment on their regular line are damaged or need to be taken out of service.
In an effort to complete this large-scale project in one day, Ohio Edison will be using most of its line crews in the Youngstown area to complete the work. Due to the vast resources needed to complete this project in a short timeframe, we determined the work would be performed safely and most efficiently during the week. Completing this project in one day has the least impact on businesses in the area because there are several factors that go into when a planned outage can be performed, including the weather.
This work to enhance service reliability was scheduled around our largest industrial customer in the area, VAS USA, who will be the most impacted by this outage. We notified all impacted customers about this work so they could plan ahead and make any necessary adjustments to their operations.
We realize there is never a convenient time for a power outage; however, we are confident this work will help prevent and minimize the length of future, unexpected outages.Ohio Edison