There were no intentional outages in southwest Ohio. Here, major energy providers Duke Energy (the primary provider for Butler and Warren counties); AES Ohio (Montgomery, Miami, Preble and Greene counties) and FirstEnergy’s Ohio Edison (Clark County) all experienced failures strictly due to physical damage incurred during the severe thunderstorm on June 13.
Casey Kroger, a spokesperson for Duke Energy, said the company had to replace or repair hundreds of blown line fuses and powerline poles after trees, branches or other fallen debris caused damage.
Under PUCO regulations, energy providers are required to have vegetation management plans around their power lines.
“If the PUCO were to find that a utility had a poor vegetation management program, we could order, theoretically, changes to their program,” Schilling said.
“The regular maintenance we do for our right-of-ways is so critical to keeping our lines and equipment reliable,” Kroger said. “And we do have regular maintenance. We’re constantly out there.”
But, in a storm like last week’s, “It was kind of us versus mother nature,” Kroger said.
Kroger said that while Duke Energy has not yet been contacted by PUCO regarding the review, the company will cooperate with the state regulators.
Ohio Edison, Clark County’s primary energy provider, said in an email statement that the company will “provide the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio with information they request regarding our restoration efforts.”
PUCO is continually examines the performance of energy providers in the state.
Schilling said PUCO has a pending case against AES Ohio for failing to meet one of the commission’s performance standards two years in a row. Duke Energy had to pay a fine earlier this year after the commission found Duke failed to meet inspection obligations.