ROANOKE, Va., July, 30, 2008 – Appalachian Power has received authorization from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for a variance of minimum flow requirements from the Smith Mountain hydroelectric project to help raise lake levels at the facility while maintaining adequate downstream  river flow. 
The new flow variance was put into effect Tuesday, July 29.
The variance request was made last week after water levels and other important factors were reached. At 6:00 a.m., July 23, the adjusted elevation of Smith Mountain Lake measured 793.38 feet, almost two feet below the “full pond” level of 795 feet. The “adjusted elevation” indicates what level the lake would be if water currently held for reuse in the lower Leesville Lake were pumped back into Smith Mountain Lake. At the same time water inflow into the project was measured at 201 cubic feet per second (cfs) and discharge from Leesville Dam was 650 cfs.
According to Teresa Rogers, Appalachian’s reservoir manager,  the company requested the variance after consultation with representatives of DEQ, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Virginia Department of Conservation and recreation, the Smith Mountain Lake Association, other lake and downstream stakeholders and Dominion Virginia Power which also operates power generating facilities downstream. “This group has been meeting by way of conference calls on a regular basis since June. Last Wednesday there was consensus that, based on low inflow, it was time to make a release modification,” Rogers said. 
“The project levels have been dropping slowly for some time,” Rogers noted. ”However, our weather forecasts are calling for increased rainfall in the watershed over the next two weeks or so. This group believes lowering the minimum required discharge somewhat will help refill the project more quickly and, at the same time, contribute to safety, recreation and commercial needs on the reservoir and downstream.”
The DEQ authorization approves the following:

  • Appalachian will  release a minimum daily average of 500 cfs from Leesville Dam into the Staunton River while maintaining a minimum 600 cfs river flow at Brookneal.  If Brookneal flows increase to 700 cfs, then flow adjustments will be made to lower the Brookneal flow to the minimum target of 600 cfs.  However, the minimum release from Leesville will not drop below 400 cfs. The revised flow is a variance of minimum flow conditions of 650 cfs established in the company’s operating license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
  • The release will be modified on weekends so that a flow of 650 cfs, measured on the river at Long Island, Va., begins at or near 8:00 a.m. on Saturdays during the variance period and continues until 8:00 p.m. the following Sunday. For Labor Day weekend, releases of 650 cfs will continue until 8:00 p.m. on Monday.
  • The variance will end 45 days after approval or when the lake reaches 794 feet adjusted elevation.   Releases may be revisited if the area experiences a significant rainfall event or if other conditions affect levels or generation operations.    
If conditions have not improved near the end of the variance period, Appalachian will again consult the stakeholders regarding need to extend the variance. That extension would require the approval of FERC.
Interested lake and river users may view current flow and elevation readings for Smith Mountain Project and other hydroelectric generating facilities operated by Appalachian Power and its parent company American Electric Power at this site: http://www.aep.com/environmental/recreation/hydro 
Smith Mountain Project is a 636-megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric facility located in southwestern Virginia that utilizes an upper reservoir (Smith Mountain Lake) and a lower reservoir (Leesville Lake). Water stored in Smith Mountain Lake passes through turbine-generators in the powerhouse to produce electricity and is discharged into Leesville Lake.  Most of the water is retained in Leesville Lake and pumped back into the Smith Mountain Lake for re-use.  A portion of the water goes through the turbine-generators at the Leesville powerhouse to generate additional electricity and to meet the minimum discharge requirements of the project´s FERC license. Construction began on the project in 1960 and it went into operation in 1965.
Appalachian Power provides electricity to 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, with more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 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.

John Shepelwich
Manager State Corporate Communications

More From APCO

Take Charge

Save Money & Energy - Now & Later

Sign Up Now Pay Online for Free with Paperless Billing

Pay Online for Free with Paperless Billing

Learn more

Download our app

How We Restore Power Learn more

How We Restore Power

Visit AEP.com
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of the AEP Terms and Conditions. View our Privacy Policy. © 1996-2019 American Electric Power. All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy for Appalachian Power, a unit of American Electric Power (AEP)


This Privacy Policy applies only to AppalachianPower.com and the Appalachian Power customer mobile app (com.aep.customerapp.apco). Other AEP websites and apps may be governed by their own privacy policies, appropriate to the uses and needs of each. Throughout the site or app, we may provide links to resources and sites that are not part of AppalachianPower.com or the Appalachian Power customer mobile app. This Privacy Policy does not apply to those resources and sites.


By using this site or app, you consent to the terms of this Privacy Policy. Whenever you submit information via this site or app, you agree to the collection, use, and disclosure of that information in accordance with this Privacy Policy.

Information Collected

  1. Passively collected information

    During your use of this site or app, we may collect anonymous information about your visit here through the use of server logs, cookies, scripts, tracking pixels and other Web traffic tracking systems. This information is aggregated and used to improve user experience through analysis of user activities. This information is never combined with any of the personally identifiable information you may provide in your use of the features of this site or app.
  2. Personally identifiable information

    On certain forms of this site or app, you may be asked to provide information about yourself or your account with us, either to identify yourself to us or to request a service from us. In each case, we will inform you what information is provided at your option and what information is required to complete the transaction or activity you are engaged in. If you are unwilling to provide this required information, you will be unable to complete the requested transaction.

Use and disclosure of information

The information you provide to us will be used to respond to requests you may make for services. Some or all of this information may be added to your permanent account record and may be used for research purposes.

In addition, we may use elements of this information in the following situations:

  1. We may transfer the information to Appalachian Power’s affiliates and subsidiaries, unless such transfer is prohibited by law;
  2. We may transfer the information as part of a merger, consolidation, acquisition, divestiture or other corporate restructuring (including bankruptcy);
  3. We may make the information available to third parties who are providing the product, service or information that you have requested (but not your password);
  4. We may make such information available to third parties who are providing services to Appalachian Power (for example, providing the information to third parties performing computer-related services for Appalachian Power);
  5. We may use the information to communicate with you about products and services that may be of interest to you.
  6. We may disclose the information if we form a good-faith belief that disclosure of such information is necessary to investigate, prevent, or take action regarding any illegal activities or regarding interference with the operation of our site or violation of its terms of use; or
  7. We may disclose the information if we believe that disclosure is required by law or regulation or in response to a subpoena or other order of a court or other governmental agency.

Appalachian Power uses Flurry Analytics Service (provided by Yahoo) in order to improve its mobile apps. Flurry’s privacy policy governs the use of this information.

Also, Appalachian Power reserves the right to share any aggregated information (i.e., non-personally identifiable information) with any third parties for any reason, unless prohibited by law.

We will not sell, rent or otherwise disclose the information we gather about you or your account to any third party, except as outlined in this Privacy Policy.


Appalachian Power takes reasonable steps to protect your personally identifiable information as it is transferred to us, through the use of Web technologies such as the Secure Sockets Layer and others. However, no Internet transmission of information is ever completely secure or error-free. In particular, e-mail sent to or from Appalachian Power may not be secure.

How to Reach Us

If you would like to update your personally identifiable information or if you have questions about this privacy policy, please contact us.

Changes to This Policy

Appalachian Power reserves the right to change this Privacy Policy at any time. If this Privacy Policy changes, the revised policy will be posted to this site. Please review this Privacy Policy before you provide any personally identifiable information through this site. Use of our web site after the posting of a revised privacy policy constitutes your consent to the revised policy.

This policy was last revised on December 13, 2017.

Close ×

Sign Up For Alerts

Subscribing to APCO alerts gives you instant notification for:

  • Billing & Payments - avoid late payments and disconnection
  • Outage Updates - find out if there's an outage at your address and when power will be back on

Win an Xbox One with Alerts!

Enroll in alerts to be eligible to win. Subscribing to I&M alerts gives you instant notification for:

  • Billing & Payments - avoid late payments and disconnection
  • Outage Updates - find out if there's an outage at your address and when power will be back on

Loading video...