EAGLE PASS, Texas, July 27, 2000 – AEP-Central Power and Light (AEP) and Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) today joined with ABB Power Systems and EPRI to dedicate a first-of-its-kind electrical tie using a new High-Voltage Direct-Current (HVDC) technology. The electric tie links the transmission system of AEP with the Mexican transmission system owned and operated by CFE. The new “asynchronous” technology converts the formerly incompatible alternating (AC) currents of both countries to direct current (DC). As a result, operators at AEP’s Eagle Pass substation can allow the transfer of power between the two countries without interrupting customers.

The project will serve as an “electrical bridge” between Eagle Pass and Piedras Negras, according to E. Linn Draper Jr., AEP’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Today, we are dedicating a different type of international bridge, an electrical interconnection that will bring two cities and two countries closer together.”

AEP has been working with CFE and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the utility industry’s collaborative science and technology organization, to develop, test and install the tie. The 36-megawatt DC tie will provide strong voltage support to Piedras Negras, Mexico, and Eagle Pass, Texas, while significantly improving the reliable power delivery service between the two electric grids.

ABB Power Systems is the supplier chosen to develop this back-to-back voltage source converter, which is referred to as “HVDC Light”. Back-to-back means that ties are contained within the substation, as opposed to previous applications of ties which have employed DC lines, often spanning considerable distances.

AEP and CFE will each have the capability of providing emergency service to the other utility without first having to disrupt power on the existing 138-kilovolt line between Eagle Pass and Piedras Negras, Mexico. AEP will operate the tie at Eagle Pass and the tie will be available for use by other utilities though the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) Independent System Operator.

“We know that this project will yield exciting benefits for all of the participants, as well as the customers of both CFE and AEP, and the electric utility industry, as a whole, ” Draper added. “I commend each of the other participants – CFE, EPRI, and ABB – in joining us to make this collaborative effort a reality.”

American Electric Power is a multinational energy company based in Columbus, Ohio. AEP is one of the United States´ largest generators of electricity with more than 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity. AEP is also one of the nation´s leading wholesale energy marketers and traders. AEP delivers electricity to more than 4.8 million customers in 11 states -- Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. The company serves more than 4 million customers outside the U.S. through holdings in Australia, Brazil, China, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Wholly owned subsidiaries are involved in power engineering and construction services, energy management and telecommunications.

Comision Federal de Electricidad, the Mexican national electric utility, is responsible for electric generation, transmission, and distribution in Mexico. CFE serves 17.5 million customers and operates 513 generating units with a total generation capacity of 34, 000 MW. The electricity market in Mexico is very dynamic, with a forecasted annual load growth of 6 percent for the next ten years. CFE has an aggressive system development plan to satisfy this high load growth requirement. The plan includes construction of 19,000 megawatts of generation capacity and 11,000 kilometers of 400-kilovolt lines over the next ten years.

Tony Arce, Jr.
(956) 721-3042 (Daytime)
(800) 431-8238 (Pager)

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