AEP Ohio files to extend electric security plan

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AEP Ohio, a unit of American Electric Power, has filed a proposal with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to extend its current electric security plan, with modifications, through May 2024. The plan would otherwise expire in May 2018.

The proposal would continue AEP Ohio's investments to improve customer service and reliability including proactive replacement of aging equipment and tree trimming and vegetation management programs to reduce outages.

AEP Ohio also will invest in a new communications system to speed dispatching of crews and restoration of service when outages occur and security enhancements to better protect distribution substations from vandalism and physical attacks.

The plan also will add new, smart technologies to AEP Ohio's energy distribution network including microgrids to supply uninterrupted power to critical public safety infrastructure, electric vehicle charging stations and smart street lighting systems to support the Smart Columbus effort in Franklin and 10 surrounding counties.

"AEP Ohio is focusing on making investments that enhance the reliability and quality of service that we provide to our customers. This proposal will allow us to continue programs that have improved the reliability of our service in recent years and introduce new, smarter energy technologies on our system that help the system operate more efficiently and effectively," said Julie Sloat, AEP Ohio president and chief operating officer. "It also gives us a way to invest in renewable generation that will bring clean energy, jobs and support economic development in Ohio."

The modified plan includes a mechanism to support recovery of future renewable generation investments made to benefit AEP Ohio customers as well as costs associated with AEP Ohio's 423 MW contractual share of Ohio Valley Electric Corp. generation. AEP Ohio has committed to developing 900 MW of new renewable generation in the state, including 500 MW of wind generation and 400 MW of solar generation, contingent on PUCO approval.

AEP Ohio is a partner with the city of Columbus and the Smart Columbus initiative to provide safety improvements, enhance mobility, incentivize reinvestment in underserved communities, reduce energy usage and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Through this plan, AEP Ohio intends to install 250 electric vehicle charging stations; put in place 8 to 10 microgrids to provide independent power supply for critical infrastructure, including police and fire stations, medical facilities and other critical facilities serving public safety needs; and install smart street lighting systems that are capable of detecting malfunctions and also dimming when appropriate to save energy and increase safety and security. These technologies initially will be implemented as part of the Smart Columbus effort in Franklin and 10 surrounding counties, and then extended to other parts of the AEP Ohio service territory.

AEP Ohio anticipates a decision on this filing from the PUCO in April 2017. If approved, the extended Electric Security plan would increase customer bills $1.58 per month for the average residential customer using 1,000 kWh each month and receiving their generation from AEP Ohio through the auction process. Overall monthly electric bills for most AEP Ohio residential customers are expected to decrease during the eight-year period of the plan due to reductions in other charges.

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