Last night a wave of wild thunderstorms struck the Cleveland area again. Looking outside my front porch windows and seeing the rain just pouring down, I felt like I was more in Southeast Asia than the North Coast. I also learned on the news that there was, once again, a massive blackout hitting parts of our area, especially on the West Side. What is really interesting is the fact that in my area the lights were for the most part on, including my own. Was it because I don’t have First Energy for electricity? Despite some obvious problems, Cleveland Public Power has, for the most part, held up quite well during this active summer storm season and I don’t believe it is just luck. There have been discussions in the past of the public utility trying to expand its’ service area which is now for the most part confined to most of the city of Cleveland. I would argue that, if they were serious, that the company should try to expand to other parts of Cuyahoga county and adjacent areas. I can see a new substation being put in Euclid, for example, to serve that city as well as the West End of Lake County (Willowick, Wickliffe, and Willoughby Hills just to name a few). If anything, this would spur its’ much larger competitor to at least improve their efforts to restore power to its customers. I’ve read somewhere that public utilities can raise funds through bond levies just like community colleges and port authorities. If that can build a new substation in the West park area or help put up those windmills on Lake Erie, it would be worth a study. Just a thought.
Despite all these musings, the point is that a little public utility appears to be performing better in a major storm than a corporation earning $142 million last year. Think about that.