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Court Upholds CEI In Line Clearance Dispute

CLEVELAND, Nov. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court has upheld Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company's (CEI) position that Cleveland Public Power (CPP) is required to follow nationally recognized safety standards when building and maintaining its power lines.

CEI, which sought a permanent injunction against CPP in February 1994, said CPP's lines posed safety hazards to its workers and reliability problems for customers because CPP was installing some lines only inches from CEI lines and poles.

Judge Carl J. Character also ordered that CPP is responsible for remediation cost where it has installed facilities too close to CEI's existing power lines. There are several thousand safety violation locations within CPP's electrical system, which must be evaluated individually to determine how must remediation CPP must perform. One estimate of the cost of remediation is $40 million.

Judge Character, who sought technical advice from a nationally-known consulting engineer, placed the financial burden on correcting the violations of the national safety standards on the utility that builds lines too close to existing lines.

"Today's decision forces CPP to abide by the same safety standards as CEI and all electric utilities across the nation," said Fred Lange Jr., president of the distribution group of Centerior Energy, parent company of CEI. "For years CPP claimed it was not required to comply with the National Electrical Safety Code. This has resulted in CPP's electric system being riddled with safety hazards. Public safety will be enhanced since these unsafe practices finally will be stopped."

The judge flatly rejected CPP's contention that the court lacked jurisdiction in the case, saying the court has broad power to provide remedies when necessary to "protect the health and safety of people and property...." CPP argued that neither the State of Ohio nor the court could make it comply with national safety standards.

CEI, and its sister company, Toledo Edison, are subsidiaries of Centerior Energy which serve more than a 1 million customers in northern Ohio.

SOURCE Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company
 -0- 11/25/96


/CONTACT: Todd Schneider of CEI, 216-447-3200, or after hours, 216-623-1060/

(CX)

CO: Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company; Cleveland Public Power; Cuyahoga

County Common Pleas Court ST: Ohio IN: UTI SU:

TC-CS -- CLM025 -- 3806 11/25/96 13:48 EST http://www.prnewswire.com
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Date:Nov 25, 1996
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