AEP Service Corporation
Candace Bywaters, 67, HPL Metro Building, died May 28.
Douglas Callihan, 46, AEP Headquarters, died June 19.
Albert Kuhens, 81, retired, Central Operations Center, died May 28.
Mark Matthews, 60, AEP Headquarters, died May 18.
John Rodrian, 91, retired, AEP Headquarters, died May 4.
Appalachian Power Company
James Ball, 91, retired, Sporn Plant, died May 27.
Jack Bishop, 78, retired, Amos Plant, died May 25.
Charley Hefner, 98, retired, Abingdon Service Center, died May 29.
Ivy Layman Jr., 80, retired, Roanoke Main Office, died May 23.
Lloyd Linkous, 95, retired, Bluefield (W.Va.) Office, died May 2.
Josephine Puckett, 98, retired, Lebanon Service Center, died June 23.
John Randall Jr., 89, retired, Kingsport Office, died May 6.
Edward Smith Jr., 67, Kammer Plant, died June 10.
Theodore Stevens, 83, retired, Bluefield (W.Va.) Office, died May 29.
Gary Stoots, 68, Glade Spring Service Center, died June 16.
E.L. Whitley, 104, retired, Bluefield (W.Va.) Office, died April 30.
Columbus Southern Power Company
Clement Bateman, 86, retired, Athens Service Center, died May 7.
Thomas Bozman, 87, retired, Picway Plant, died May 22.
Thomas Brubaker, 86, retired, 850 Tech Center, died June 16.
Lewis Laird, 82, retired, 850 Tech Center, died May 16.
Charles Miller, 86, retired, Seaman Service Center, died June 5.
Thomas Ochs, 82, retired, 850 Tech Center, died June 20.
Leo Voit, 96, retired, 850 Tech Center, died June 23.
Turney Williamson Jr., 92, retired, 850 Tech Center, died May 5.
Indiana Michigan Power Company
Christopher Fry, 27, St. Joseph Service Center, died June 24.
Maxwell Harrell, 89, retired, Marion Office, died May 31.
Donald Hawkins, 90, retired, Muncie Service Center, died June 3.
Charles Ruple, 83, retired, Three Rivers Service Center, died June 15.
Homer Sovine, 83, retired, South Bend Service Center, died May 9.
Floyd Wambaugh, 91, retired, St. Joseph Service Center, died May 18.
Kentucky Power Company
Jerry Stewart, 84, retired, Big Sandy Plant, died May 15.
Ohio Power Company
Lewis Bowman, 86, retired, Portsmouth Service Center, died May 26.
John Buckley, 83, retired, Portsmouth Service Center, died May 19.
Ronald Butcher, 72, retired, Central Ohio Coal Company, died June 21.
Earl Dabney, 86, retired, Gavin Plant, died June 6.
Patricia Denkhaus, 81, retired, Canton Computer Center, died May 29.
Carl Evans, 85, retired, Van Wert Service Center, died May 5.
James Gunn, 92, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died June 19.
Robert Heaton, 78, retired, Steubenville Office, died June 10.
Charles King, 86, retired, Mitchell Plant, died June 15.
Larry Koontz, 71, Mitchell Plant, died May 8.
Richard Linn, 88, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died May 4.
Donald Malster, 79, retired, Muskingum River Plant, died June 11.
James McNear, 88, retired, East Liverpool Office, died May 11.
Carl Neiss Jr., 91, retired, Cambridge Office Building, died May 26.
Gerald Scott, 85, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died June 9.
James Simms, 86, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died June 20.
Gerald Sommer, 80, retired, Zanesville Office, died June 9.
Ivan Wood, 82, retired, Portsmouth Service Center, died May 3.
Public Service Company of Oklahoma
George Blackman, 90, retired, Tulsa General Office, died June 22.
Robert Cole, 77, retired, Tulsa General Office, died June 5.
Cleo McWhorter, 90, retired, Tulsa General Office, died June 2.
Ellen Millard, 71, retired, Tulsa General Office, died May 13.
Harvey Money, 84, retired, Tulsa General Office, died May 2.
William Ryan Jr., 86, retired, Tulsa General Office, died May 11.
Dale Sexton, 72, retired, Tulsa General Office, died June 2.
Southwestern Electric Power Company
D.J. Huffman, 85, retired, Shreveport General Office, died May 12.
Manuel Lopez, 93, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died June 12.
John Willoughby, 70, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died May 13.
James Merrell, 69, Munday Office, died June 5.
J.B. Teters, 73, Ballinger Office, died June 9.
David Chek, New Philadelphia Service Center, retired June 1 after 35 years of service.
David Dingey, McConnellsville Land Management, retired June 19 after 36 years of service.
Daniel Gerker, Van Wert Service Center, retired June 1 after 29 years of service.
Marilyn Harrell, Tiffin Service Center, retired June 2 after 34 years of service.
Rosemary McDermitt, Canton Eastern Regional Office, retired June 27 after 20 years of service.
Robert Moenter, Lima Service Center, retired June 1 after 41 years of service.
Susan Nartker, Lima Service Center, retired June 19 after 24 years of service.
Timothy Riley, McConnellsville Service Center, retired June 27 after 37 years of service.
Wesley Wright, Steubenville Service Center, retired June 5 after 33 years of service.
AEP River Operations
George Cooper, River Transportation Division, retired June 10 after 28 years of service.
Gustave Theriot, Elmwood Convent Fleet & Repair, retired June 25 after 11 years of service.
AEP Service Corporation
Homer Clark Jr., AEP Headquarters, retired June 20 after 29 years of service.
Cathy Gilbert, Home Worksite-Tennessee, retired June 13 after 20 years of service.
Mary Heft, AEP Headquarters, retired June 9 after 30 years of service.
John Hume, AEP Headquarters, retired June 13 after 31 years of service.
Frederick North, AEP Headquarters, retired June 6 after 10 years of service.
Donald Phelps Jr., Environmental Lab, retired June 6 after 35 years of service.
Donnie Robertson, AEP Headquarters, retired June 20 after 24 years of service.
Virgil Smathers, AEP Headquarters, retired June 6 after 28 years of service.
Marsha Thorla, Central Operations Center, retired June 26 after 12 years of service.
David Walton, AEP Headquarters, retired June 1 after 11 years of service.
Larry Dozier, Quitaque Service Center, retired June 1 after 26 years of service.
Paul Kincaid, Williamson Service Center, retired June 2 after 29 years of service.
Linda Miller, Hurricane Customer Operations Center, retired June 16 after 10 years of service.
Robert Norcross, Roanoke Main Office, retired June 2 after 46 years of service.
William Ogle Jr., Glade Spring Service Center, retired June 1 after 39 years of service.
Terrance Shrewsbury, North Charleston Service Center, retired June 1 after 36 years of service.
Stuart Thomason, John W. Vaughn Center, retired June 1 after 38 years of service.
James Blake, Mitchell Plant, retired June 2 after 33 years of service.
Ronald Cain, Mitchell Plant, retired June 16 after 28 years of service.
Douglas Drake, Amos Plant, retired June 20 after 35 years of service.
Rodney Frecker, Gavin Plant, retired June 13 after 38 years of service.
George Himes, Rockport Plant, retired June 1 after 28 years of service.
Johnnie Muck, Amos Plant, retired June 29 after 33 years of service.
David Riggs, Mitchell Plant, retired June 1 after 42 years of service.
Larry Rowe, Mishawaka Hydro, retired June 3 after 26 years of service.
Daniel Stern, Mitchell Plant, retired June 2 after 34 years of service.
Teddy Swartz Jr., Gavin Plant, retired June 12 after 35 years of service.
Indiana Michigan Power
Dean Bruck, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired June 6 after 30 years of service.
Janet Everett, Muncie Service Center, retired June 1 after 28 years of service.
Teresa Glancy, Muncie Service Center, retired June 1 after 32 years of service.
Harold Gretzky, Cook Material Center, retired June 20 after 22 years of service.
Gregory Lee, Muncie Service Center, retired June 1 after 36 years of service.
James Parker, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired June 16 after 15 years of service.
John Prehn, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired June 24 after 24 years of service.
Southwestern Electric Power Company
Craig Schluter, Mt. Pleasant Service Center, retired June 13 after 16 years of service.
Susan Wilson, Pirkey Fuels, retired June 6 after 25 years of service.
Ray Johnson, Muncie Service Center, retired June 1 after 41 years of service.
Steven Klusmire, Transmission Operations Center, retired June 1 after 18 years of service.
Richard Reinaker, Home Worksite-Oregon, retired June 6 after 34 years of service.
William Smith, Spy Run Service Center, retired June 1 after 45 years of service.
Edward Ulrich, Transmission Operations Center, retired June 5 after 25 years of service.
|AEP CEO Nick Akins appeared on CNBC-TV’s “Mad Money w/Jim Cramer” program July 23.|
Nick Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer, appeared on CNBC-TV’s “Mad Money w/Jim Cramer” program July 23 to discuss AEP’s strong second-quarter earnings report, the prospect of future dividend increases, coal’s continued struggles and more.
With higher treasury yields and some financial turmoil across the country, the question remains as to whether or not investors will move back into the “safe” haven of utility stocks. Cramer noted that, in other sectors, a robust earnings report would move a company’s stock up significantly. That was not true for AEP following its second-quarter earnings announcement July 23. “Are utility investors just different?” Cramer asked.
“That’s true,” said Akins. “A lot of our investors are long-term investors, and for us to continue to invest and beat the market really says a lot about the foundational elements we’ve provided during this year. It’s a good year — a great year — for us, so we will continue plodding along to ensure that we continue with those revenues for our investors. That’s clearly a positive for us.”
But, if the company is making a lot of money, is it reasonable to assume that stock dividend increases are more likely than decreases?
“That’s true,” Akins agreed. “Our board and our management are focused on earnings improvement, and our dividend continues to track our earnings improvement. Typically our board evaluates that in October and will continue to do so.”
Turning to coal and its many struggles, what does the country’s current aversion to coal mean for the U.S. and American Electric Power?
“I think it’s a particular challenge. Coal needs to remain a part of the portfolio but there is a massive change going on in terms of rebalancing that portfolio, particularly in light of shale gas activities, the advent of renewables and other technologies that are forming,” Akins noted, “so we need to balance the (generation) fleet to build the security of our energy supply, but coal needs to stay there, as well.”
Will there ever be another new coal plant built in this country?
“I don’t really see that happening because, at this point, you have to have some form of carbon capture and storage in place, and it’s very, very expensive,” Akins answered. “And with natural gas there, that’s certainly going to be the fuel of choice for central station generation.”
Akins also noted that renewables continue to expand in utility portfolios, but since their power is “intermittent,” they must be backed up by some sort of central station generation, such as coal, natural gas or nuclear.
Finally, Akins said the continued improvement in the economy provides hope for utilities in the near- and longer-term future.
“The overall economy is starting to improve and all three of our load sectors were up — commercial, industrial and residential,” Akins noted. “And when you look at oil and gas, we cover a large portion of the shale gas activity in this country, and even though (oil and gas) rig counts may be going down, the overall usage of electricity is going up in those regions.”
|Doug Callihan, shown in a 2013 photo holding an AEP hard hat signed by many supporters and well-wishers from across the AEP System.|
AEP cares about the safety, health and well-being of its employees. All employees and retirees are invited to share their stories about the changes they are making to live healthier lives. This “Wellness Journey” is in tribute to Doug Callihan, who passed away in June after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Douglas C. Callihan, 47, principal construction contracts specialist in Construction Technology, passed away June 19, 2015, after a courageous four-year battle with cancer. A native of Cambridge, Ohio, he was employed by AEP for eight years.
Doug was a car enthusiast who loved working on and restoring his 1968 Chevrolet Corvette with the help of his friends and with his son, Matthew. He is survived by his wife, Karla, and his children, Matthew, Levi and Kaylie. He started running and lifting weights shortly after joining AEP and participating in several weight-loss challenges at his workplace.
In December 2013, he was featured in a Wellness Journey article that described his struggle with cancer that began October 12, 2011, and that included surgeries, a seizure while running, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. In the article, Doug expressed appreciation to the leadership in the AEP Projects, Controls & Construction organization “who made it possible for me to improve my quality of life even after a major illness.”
“Some people say that they are dying of cancer, but not Doug. Instead, he chose to live with cancer and embrace life. He continued to work full time, rebuilt two Corvettes, ran 10-plus miles a week and cherished time with his family,” said Chris Beam, vice president – Projects, Controls & Construction.
|Doug Callihan at the wheel of his restored 1968 Chevrolet Corvette.|
“Doug was driven at everything he did,” said Tom Householder, managing director – Labor Relations. “His work ethic and commitment were at the highest level. When Doug was told he had cancer, he attacked it rather than letting the cancer attack him. He continued to work during his treatments and he also worked out throughout his treatments. He inspired others with his courage and his perseverance. He’s no doubt the toughest person I’ve ever known. His family thanks all who provided Doug encouragement and support during his battle with cancer.”
“We often find ourselves complaining about having a rough day, but our rough days are nothing compared to Doug’s,” said Brian Myers, Construction Technology manager. “Every day was a struggle — dealing with doctors, taking medication that he knew was going to make him sick — but he didn’t complain and he never gave up hope. Doug was and continues to be an inspiration to those of us who knew him.”
Tory High, the coordinator of the fitness center at 1 Riverside Plaza, where Doug was a regular, was proud to recognize Doug Callihan as the Fitness Center Member of the Month for July, “for his unwavering optimism, the fight in him that beamed from his eyes, and his encouragement of others, even as he faced some of his weariest days. We saw Doug reach new strength levels in the Fitness Center just two days after undergoing chemotherapy treatment,” he said. “He never lost his drive.”
Doug expressed his attitude as, “Be a fighter. Don’t give up. I determined that I came into this world kicking and screaming, and I would go out the same way.”
The Callihan family expressed their heartfelt thanks to those who sent flowers, cards, gifts of food and condolences to honor Doug’s memory, and to those who called, visited and attended calling hours and funeral services. “Your kindness and thoughtfulness shown during such a sorrowful time will not be forgotten,” a note from the family read.
Do you have a wellness journey you’d like to share? Your story can be about weight loss, overcoming an illness, maintaining good health habits or some other health-related topic. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Story by Jennah Nelson)
After the 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal just a few shorts months ago, employees rallied together to contribute over $16,000 to the AEP Emergency Disaster Relief Fund of The Salvation Army.
The AEP Foundation will make a special donation to The Salvation Army by providing a 100 percent match, bringing the total to $32,066. The match will help extend support to families impacted by the April 25 event that left thousands dead, many more missing, and countless communities in ruin.
Donations will be administered by The Salvation Army and split equally among the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and UNICEF for ongoing relief efforts.
“AEP employees are always quick to lend a helping hand in a crisis and the events in Nepal are no different,” said Nick Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer. “By providing this match through the AEP Foundation, employee donations will now go even further in aiding relief efforts for this terrible disaster. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were, and continue to be, impacted by this devastation.”
The AEP Emergency Disaster Relief Fund was established through The Salvation Army to help employees when disasters strike.
The AEP Foundation is funded by American Electric Power and its utility operating units. The Foundation provides a permanent, ongoing resource for charitable initiatives involving higher dollar values and multi-year commitments in the communities served by AEP and initiatives outside of AEP’s 11-state service area.
|Victoria line crew members accept the President’s Award. Pictured are (L to R): Line Mechanic Albert Rodriguez; Line Mechanic Julian Sosa; Russell Coleman, Victoria SDS; Line Crew Leader Todd Sneed; Wade Smith, AEP Texas president and chief operating officer; Line Mechanic Jeremy Voigt; and Elgin Janssen, Victoria community affairs manager.|
(Story by Omar Lopez)
To hear Victoria, Texas, resident Sherry Holm tell the story, she thought she was dead.
Holm, 64, was driving in the right lane of Loop 463 in Victoria. An industrial dump truck driving beside her in the left lane turned right. Holm veered off the road to avoid colliding with the truck, but she hit the truck head on.
“I hit the fuel tank. My air bag did not deploy. I took the full brunt of the impact in the face. I thought, ‘I’m not going to make this.’ I thought I was going to die,” Holm said.
Meanwhile, down the road, Line Mechanic Julian Sosa hovered more than 30 feet in the air in his bucket when he heard the crash. He turned and waved to the rest of his crew to investigate.
“When I realized that I was not dead, because I thought I would be, the next thing I knew there were men around me, helping me, calming me, getting me out of the car” Holm said.
Those men were AEP Texas employees. Because of their heroic acts the day of the accident last December, Victoria Line Mechanic Albert Rodriguez; Line Crew Leader Todd Sneed; Line Mechanic Jeremy Voigt; and Sosa were awarded the President’s Award by Wade Smith, AEP Texas president and chief operating officer.
“I was up in the bucket when I heard some screeching tires,” Sosa said. “I waved as soon as I heard the noise. The guys started looking around for the noise, too. Albert and Todd took off. They sprinted down the road while I came down.”
When Sosa came upon the accident, Rodriguez and Sneed were trying to help Holm out of the vehicle. Locked doors and fuel pouring from the truck created a dangerous, if not deadly, scene.
“I remember that the men were pulling the doors,” Holm said. “One was pulling on the driver’s side door that would not open and the other was standing on the passenger door. I remember telling them that I just wanted to sit there for a second.”
Sneed said he could see and smell the leaking diesel fuel. He and the rest of the crew insisted that she exit the vehicle.
“I just remember that there was a man walking with me and one walking in front of me, guiding me to a place,” she said. “They were so sweet and so nice. I remember how calm they were, and how it calmed me. I was terrified and they were so calming to me.”
The crew brought her a freezable gel pack and grabbed a folding chair for her. More people arrived on the scene.
“It was weird how everything just worked out,” Sosa said. “There were probably around 10 people around, people who stopped on the highway, including a nurse. She took over with the victim and we took off back to the service center.”
During the rescue, Holm asked the crew if they knew Elgin Janssen, the Victoria community affairs manager. She and Janssen often crossed paths through her work at the Victoria Economic Development Center. One week after the accident, Holm and Janssen saw one another at a meeting. Janssen said he noticed her deeply colored, fresh bruises about her eyes and forehead. It was then that Janssen learned that the AEP Texas linemen were responsible for her rescue.
Sneed and the crew returned to the service center that day without much thought about the accident. He said they did not talk about it until the next Monday.
“We weren’t trying to get our names in the paper or anything,” Sneed said. “You don’t really know how you are going to react. It was just a normal day.”
But not for Holm.
She said the accident, for her, was life-changing. She has since retired and she said she owes her life to the crew.
“Let me tell you, your men at AEP Texas pulled me out of there. They saved my life.”
(Story by Pamela Busby)
Social engineering refers to the methods attackers use to manipulate people into sharing sensitive information, or taking an action, such as downloading a file. Sometimes a social engineer is able to rely solely on information posted online or will sometimes interact with the victim to persuade the victim to share details or perform an action.
Information posted online can seem harmless, until you think about how a social engineer could use the same information. By gathering multiple pieces of information from various sources, a cyber criminal could have enough facts about you to craft a very convincing social engineering scam. Think about how these seemingly innocuous details might be valuable to the cyber criminal:
- Posting a picture of your pet might give away your pet’s name, or posting a photo of your car would identify its color. Pet’s name and car color are common security questions.
- Answering a “meme” can give away personally identifiable information (PII) such as your date of birth or other sensitive information, including answers to security questions.
Be careful about how much information you post and think about how the various pieces might be combined for use by a cyber criminal.
The following three common types of persuasion methods highlight different ways social engineers target victims through the Internet.
Tech Support Call Scams
In Tech Support Call Scams, the scammer, claiming to work for a well-known software or technology company, cold calls victims in an attempt to convince the victim that their computer is at risk of attack, attacking another computer, or is infected with malware, and that only the caller can remediate the problem. In convincing the victim, the scammer often persuades the victim to provide remote access to the victim’s computer. The scammer can then install malware or access sensitive information. In some variations, the scammer persuades the victim to pay for unnecessary or fictitious antivirus software or software updates.
In Romance Scams, the malicious actors create fake profiles on dating websites and establish relationships with other site members. Once a sense of trust is established, the scammer fabricates an emergency and asks the victim for financial assistance. The scammer generally claims they will repay the victim as soon as the crisis is over, however, if the victim sends money, the scammer will prolong the scam, sometimes stealing thousands of dollars from the victim.
In this scenario, also known as the “Grandparent Scam,” malicious actors use information posted on social media websites by a traveling family member to trick other family members into sending money overseas. Often the scam targets the elderly, who are less likely to realize the information was originally posted online. The scammer will monitor social media websites for people traveling overseas, and then contact the family members, through the Internet or via phone, with a crisis and requesting that money be sent immediately. The scammers rely on all the information users post online about themselves and their trips, in order to convince the family member that they know the traveler and are privy to personal details, and thus should be trusted.
Easy Tips to Protect Yourself from Social Engineering
- Use discretion when posting personal information on social media. This information is a treasure-trove to scammers who will use it to feign trustworthiness.
- Before posting any information, consider: What does this information say about me? How can this information be used against me? Is this information, if combined with other information, harmful?
- Remind friends and family members to exercise the same caution. Request that they remove revealing information about you.
- Verify the identity of anyone who contacts you through different means – do not use the information they provide you.
- Do not send money to people you do not know and trust.
For more information about how to stay safe in cyberspace, visit the Center for Internet Security at www.cisecurity.org
|The Headwaters Wind Farm’s 100 turbines have a capacity of 200 megawatts and are expected to generate more than 600,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually – enough to power more than 50,000 homes.|
(Story by Tracy Warner)
Community leaders and elected officeholders joined officials from EDP Renewables and Indiana Michigan Power Company (I&M) recently to formally dedicate the Headwaters Wind Farm.
Located in Winchester, Ind., The wind farm’s 100 turbines have a capacity of 200 megawatts and are expected to generate more than 600,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually – enough to power more than 50,000 homes. EDPR developed and operates the facility and has an agreement to sell the energy it generates to I&M. The facility went on line in late December.
“These wind turbines in Randolph County help boost the local economy, but they do much more,” said Paul Chodak, I&M president and chief operating officer. “At a time when our nation and many of our customers expect more energy to come from renewable sources, wind plays an important role. I&M now generates energy using the wind, water, nuclear power and coal – and will add solar later this year. A diverse generation pool helps I&M adapt to changes in the energy industry.”
“Headwaters Wind Farm has helped I&M achieve a notable milestone this year – more than half of our energy now comes from non-carbon-emitting sources,” Chodak added. “Indiana Michigan Power is proud to be Winchester’s hometown energy provider, and we appreciate the community’s role in generating renewable energy.”
(Story by Jeff Rennie)
AEP employees and retirees are invited to hit the trail.
The 18th annual AEP Employee and Retiree Trail Ride at AEP’s ReCreation Land Equine Activity Area will take place Aug. 8 and 9 at the site located about seven miles north of McConnelsville, Ohio, at 3400 East State Route 78. Participants must bring their own horse.
The ride kicks off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 8. Riders should pack a trail lunch. A potluck dinner is scheduled Saturday night with meat for grilling provided by AEP.
Anne Lindimore, administrative assistant senior at the AEP Transmission Field Operations office, in Zanesville, coordinates the outing.
“Save the weekend of August 8 for a good time with great people,” said Lindimore. “Hope to see you here!”
Approximately 30 miles of trails are available to riders. Many are well shaded and hilly with shallow creek crossings, said Lindimore. The trails were developed and are maintained in a partnership between AEP and the Ohio Horseman’s Council. Guides are available on Saturday and Sunday.
Free camping, firewood and horse water are provided. No electricity is available at the campsite, but there are Port-O-Lets and the area has tie lines and picnic tables. The trailhead staging area can accommodate 100 horse trailers.
A permit is required to use the Equine Activity Area, which is open to the public, and is available free online at http://www.aep.com/environment/conservation/recland/permit.aspx.
(Story by Matthew Thompson)
Jim Fawcett, manager of energy efficiency and alternative energy initiatives for Appalachian Power Company, has been appointed by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to his new Executive Committee on Energy Efficiency.
The committee is comprised of 12 public and private sector stakeholders. The group aims to develop strategies and recommendations to achieve the goal of a 10 percent reduction in retail electricity consumption in Virginia by 2020.
“The energy sector is a key strategic growth area as we work to build a new Virginia economy, and improving energy efficiency is one of the real opportunities. I have put together this talented group of people to help ensure that we meet our goal in an accelerated time frame,“ McAuliffe stated in a news release.
Fawcett is one of only three utility representatives serving on the committee. He said he is honored to serve on the committee and hopes it will advance the energy efficiency issue in the state.
“The biggest importance is that it gives Appalachian Power a seat at the table to talk about the landscape of energy efficiency in Virginia going forward,” Fawcett said.
In Virginia, Appalachian offers energy saving initiatives for residential customers, including residential peak reduction and low income weatherization programs.
The residential peak reduction program provides a household the unique opportunity to save money and assist energy reliability for all customers. A device is installed near the outside central air conditioning unit at the home and during a limited number of peak demand periods, Appalachian will activate this device to adjust the air conditioner’s compressor to run at 50 percent cycling.
The low income weatherization program provides products and services to residential customers in need of help in reducing home energy bills and improving comfort. To qualify for the program, a household must have a total annual household income at or below 60 percent of the state median income.
Serving on an energy efficiency committee put together by a governor is a first for Fawcett. Although he works with different states on various initiatives, Fawcett said he’s excited to work with a group that reports directly to state leaders. He’s hopeful Appalachian customers in Virginia will benefit from the committee’s decisions.
“We always have to look at it from what’s in the best interest for our customers,” Fawcett said. “There has to be a certain balance there. The programs we run, our customers pay for. We want to make sure it’s always in their best interest and that its cost effective.”
The Executive Committee will be overseen by Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones and will be staffed by the Energy Division of the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy.
Fawcett is based at the Appalachian headquarters in Charleston, W.Va. He plans to travel to Richmond to attend meetings. The committee plans to meet on a monthly basis, with occasional conference calls to discuss updates.