Joe Motil

Joe Motil, former Columbus City Council candidate and longtime community advocate who has begun circulating petitions to run for Mayor in the 2023 Mayoral primary election calls for an immediate public hearing and investigation into AEP’s claim that their decision to shut off power was to protect the power grid and prevent longer power outages.  

Motil says, “AEP CEO Nick Akins and other top  AEP management officials need to be called to the carpet in the form of a public hearing to answer questions from city, county officials and the public.” Motil adds, “ why didn’t AEP notify our Mayor of their actions in order to better prepare our citizens for this unexpected crisis? As a longtime corporate leader in Columbus, campaign contributor of the mayor’s past elections, supporter of his endorsed levies and recipient of tax incentives, the two are obviously in frequent contact with one another. These high temperatures were predicted a week ago and AEP was certainly aware that power usage would be tested. And we are not even officially into summer. Can we expect higher temperatures and further stress on the power grid in the next couple of months? Of course we can. These temperatures do not rival, for example, Texas’, and are not unprecedented for central Ohio. AEP’s public statements and actions contradict each other and do not make sense logically.

If AEP was aware that power usage might reach its maximum, which in itself is not clear, why did they not plan accordingly with respect to both their resources and their legal, financial, and ethical relationships to their customers?  What can we AEP fee payers and taxpayers expect when summer actually arrives? More failures?  Threats to health and safety? A lack of communication with city officials?"

Mr. Motil continues,  “Mayor Ginther and City Council must also take on some of the blame and responsibility. As a retired construction safety manager, I have been directly involved in formulating and carrying out emergency action plans for large construction projects, for fire, natural disaster, chemical, injury, construction equipment failure and others. The City of Columbus obviously does not have any plan in place. Lengthening the hours of pool times and providing a few cooling centers is not a response that meets the needs of all residents’ health and safety. It excludes seniors, low-income person, those with health issues and others.”    

Motil concludes that, “As mayor  I would convene top officials from Public Health, Public Safety, Recreation and Parks, American Red Cross, Social service agencies, utility providers like AEP and others, and county, state, and federal officials to develop emergency action plans to properly prepare to address these types of crisis.  I would also hold AEP liable. The job is not getting done now. Our citizens deserve better. ”