COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – Following Governor Mike DeWine’s urging for a review of power outages related to AEP Ohio’s service in the state, the PUCO released its findings this week.

The investigation looked at power outages that happened in June 2022 as a result of severe weather. While all utilities in the state were impacted by the severe weather, the report says that AEP customers were most impacted, with approximately 606,000 customers losing service.

Adding to the thunderstorm event, the following days experienced extreme heat, which put a heavy burden on the system, the report stated.

Customers complained about lengthy restoration times, lack of communication, safety concerns and lost food, among other issues.

AEP Ohio reported it attempted to maintain communications with the public throughout the event. The company also had communications with public officials as well as local and state emergency management agencies, according to the report.

The event was so large that AEP was forced to proactively shut down parts of its distribution system in order to avoid damage to the system and further outages.

The PUCO’s report looked at AEP’s performance compared to its planned emergency procedures and vegetation management programs. It found that most of the outages were ultimately caused by vegetation coming into contact with power lines, but AEP said that was only because the storm forced branches and other vegetation to come in contact with the lines.

“Staff understands this point and can accept that this may be the case. However, it believes that if the trees were in a position that allowed the storm to alter them to the point that they caused a grow-in outage, then perhaps they had not been trimmed enough,” investigators wrote.

The report directs the utility to revise its vegetation management programs around high-voltage transmission lines and recommends it makes improvements to its emergency communications procedures.

AEP serves customers in northwest Ohio, Central Ohio, southeast Ohio, the Canton area and a small portion of southwestern Columbiana County.