NORTH ROYALTON – After several power outages were reported over the summer, FirstEnergy tested Sunrise Cove’s underground wiring and found it to be faulty. Those lines have already been replaced and at no cost to the condominiums.
Between May and August, the condos experienced six outages in total, though two of them were found not to be attributed to the wiring. Each of those outages lasted for a couple of hours. Mayor Bob Stefanik was contacted by Sunrise Cove, and he put in a call to Karen Kirsh, manager of external affairs for FirstEnergy.
Kirsh in turn contacted the company’s division, which monitors and tracks outages.
“We do have people that track this, but I also got a call from the mayor. I checked with the staff that tracks it and they said, ‘yes, we know about it and are working on it.’ We were able to get it done pretty quickly,” she said.
Work began Sept. 8 and finished up on the 16th. The original cable dated back to 1977. It was standard practice at that time to simply bury the cable in the ground without protection. Times have changed. FirstEnergy replaced the line with 170 feet of new cable that is encased in a conduit.
“And the cable itself is in a ‘jacket,’ a protective coating, so there are two layers of protection now that it didn’t have before,” Kirsh explained.
This was all done at no cost to Sunrise Cove, FirstEnergy absorbed all the repairs. The project totaled approximately $28,000.
Kirsh said if a piece of cable fails up to three times, it is then replaced. Sunrise Cove’s faulted four times between May and August.
“We can’t see where the problem is, so we have to use some equipment to test it and determine where the problem is, dig it up and repair it. We had four underground cable faults here, so we decided to go ahead and replace it,” Kirsh said.
Erin Hejduk, a long-time Sunrise Cove resident, claims this problem dates back further than May for her. She said she has noticed numerous brownouts and blackouts at the complex dating back a decade. At one point, she says she asked for an outage report spanning back 10 years and alleges that there have been 57 outages in total. Desperate for help, she reached out to the city in August after experiencing two outages that month. She is hoping the replacement resolves the issue once and for all.
“As long as it stays taken care of, I’ll be happy. It’s very frustrating when you are in the middle of laundry or cooking something and it goes out or it’s hot outside. Hopefully it’s fixed. Hopefully the bad part was replaced, and it won’t happen anymore,” she said.
Kirsh searched outage records dating back two years, anything before that is in archived files, and found that there was only one outage last year and it was not related to the wiring and in 2012 there were two, also not related to the wiring.
Stefanik is happy to hear the project was quickly tackled. He said FirstEnergy is always great to work with.
“These failed, we reached out to FirstEnergy, they were able to document the outages and determine that they were more frequent than they should be and they accelerated this project to the top of their list,” he said. “We have an excellent working relationship with FirstEnergy, and they are very responsive to our service-related inquiries.”
Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw said he appreciates the efforts made by the mayor and the administration and FirstEnergy’s swiftness in addressing the issue for residents.
“I appreciate their promptness in getting their crews to come out and working to resolve it for my residents impacted,” he said.
Community Development Director Tom Jordan said a similar issue happened last year in the Industrial Park area too in two different parts of the park’s older section.
He said if any resident or business is having power outages, they should not hesitate to contact either the city or FirstEnergy.
“A lot of people don’t call in to FirstEnergy and just wait for the power to go on. They don’t think it’s a problem, but when the power is going off repeatedly, it is a problem,” he said. “I would ask all residents, if you are having repeated outages, let us know. We will pass on the info. And, if you are having outages, call in to keep track of those repeated outages. If you are calling and not getting the issue resolved to your satisfaction, you are welcome to give us a call. I can’t help with billing, but I can help with outages.”