AEP Ohio Files Plan to Enhance Service Reliability with PUCO

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 6, 2006 – AEP Ohio, an operating unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), filed a plan today at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) designed to enhance distribution system reliability and improve the overall customer experience.  The plan proposes an additional annual average investment of a approximately $130 million over the next five years on vegetation management, equipment replacement, infrastructure upgrades and improved use of technology, to help reduce outages and improve service reliability for AEP Ohio customers. 

If approved by the PUCO, residential customers using 1000 kWh of electricity per month would see a monthly increase of approximately $1.60 for Columbus Southern Power customers and $2.30 for Ohio Power customers.

AEP Ohio has spent on average of $101 million annually over the last three years on reliability programs designed to maintain distribution infrastructure and reduce outages.  This spending level has increased steadily although current distribution rates have not changed over the past ten years.  Without the additional infrastructure investments proposed in the new plan, it will be difficult for AEP Ohio to maintain service reliability at levels expected by today’s customers.

“AEP Ohio has continually provided reliable service to our customers, but in today’s world, when we all use increasingly more sophisticated electronic equipment, any interruptions in electrical service can significantly impact our customers’ lives,” said Kevin E. Walker, AEP Ohio President and COO.  “We have developed a flexible plan designed to enhance service reliability while at the same time, keeping our rates as competitive as possible.”

AEP Ohio’s plan will focus on addressing areas that can have the greatest negative impact on service reliability, including:

  • Vegetation Management – To reduce the number of tree-caused outages, AEP Ohio will significantly increase the current number of tree crews and perform end-to-end circuit clearing on all of its lines over a four-year period, while gathering data for use in more customized future vegetation management plans.       
  • Overhead Line Inspection – AEP Ohio will begin a more comprehensive inspection of the hardware and equipment on overhead structures to determine what repair and replacement work should be performed to reduce the number of outages.  
  • Accelerated Equipment and Hardware Replacement – AEP Ohio will proactively address emerging equipment and hardware issues, including cutouts and lightning arresters, which have resulted in more customer outages.  
  • Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMI) – AEP Ohio will expand use of AMI, automated metering technology, that can provide outage and restoration reporting, distribution equipment monitoring (energy usage), and remote meter reading.  AMI provides more accurate meter reads, quicker identification of problem meters, better capability to resolve “high” bill complaints and an additional means for identifying outages. 
Other elements of the plan focus on improving underground cable performance and distribution station performance, as well as utilizing technology to allow for faster service restoration for customers affected by an outage.

The plan includes cost projections based on an assessment of the amount of work that would be done, the cost of that work and the effects of inflation on those costs.

AEP Ohio provides electricity to nearly 1.5 million customers of major AEP subsidiaries Columbus Southern Power Company and Ohio Power Company in Ohio, and Wheeling Power Company in the northern panhandle of West Virginia. AEP Ohio is based in Gahanna, Ohio, and is a unit of American Electric Power.

American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states.  AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 36,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S.  AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.  AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas).  American Electric Power, based in Columbus, Ohio, is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2006.

Media Contact:
Doug Flowers
AEP Ohio Corporate Communications
(614) 883-6675

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