Second electricity delivery point earns its keep
By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Monday night's power outage across the Niles area was a minor problem that could have been a lot worse, City of Niles utilities department officials said.
James Lehmkuhl, manager of the City of Niles Utilities Department, said Monday night's power outage occurred because of a failure of a piece of electrical equipment at American Electric Power. The city's utilities department purchases its power from American Electric Power and distributes it to local residents.
This equipment failure disconnected the hook-up from AEP to the delivery point on Fort Street, which in turn distributes power to Niles' customers.
The power failure could have been more widespread and lasted longer if it were not for a second delivery point, which was put into place on Lake Street approximately four months ago.
Last summer, the Niles Utilities Department contracted with AEP to utilize one of their existing circuits as the second delivery point. AEP sold this circuit to the city for about $300,000. It became operational on Aug. 6. Monday night's equipment occurred at about 1:45 a.m. and most city residents had their power restored within an hour or two. Some neighboring township residents didn't have power restored until about 5 a.m. Lehmkuhl said the second delivery point was put into place to handle situations just like the one that occurred last night.
With only one delivery point, a problem such as Monday night's equipment failure could render the entire city without power for an extended amount of time.