Cleveland Electric Illuminating Services Provided

The Client
Cleveland Electric Illuminating (now FirstEnergy Corp.) - Cleveland, Ohio

The Issue
CEI, then the largest investor-owned utility in Ohio, needed to build two new substations and two 138-kilovolt transmission lines (four miles and nine miles long) to improve the integrity of its electrical system in a suburban area around Cleveland. New transmission lines tend to be very controversial, especially in developing areas, where residents voice concerns about the appearance of towers, effects on property values and alleged health effects of electric and magnetic fields (EMF).

The Actions
Neil Palmer & Associates and the Terra Group of Houston, Texas, worked with a team of CEI staff to develop a comprehensive communications and public affairs program. Key elements included:
Participating in review of alternate corridors for the lines.
Helping design and interpret a public opinion research poll.
Creating public outreach and public participation programs.
Developing and managing production of public information materials.
Securing support for the project from CEI business customers.
Arranging support from an economist at a local university.
Coaching an electrical engineering professor as a spokesperson on EMF.
Helping CEI draft testimony submitted to the Power Siting Board.
Reviewing intervener testimony.
Preparing cross-examination questions for the intervener witness.

The Results
The program proved successful and CEI won approval for the $14 million project from the Ohio Power Siting Board, a part of the state Public Utilities Commission.