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Billing alerts enhance customer experience

(Story by Rachel Hammer)

AEP and its operating companies continually strive to improve customers’ experiences with AEP and satisfaction with the service they receive. As part of that ongoing effort, the companies have expanded services that alert customers of important information about their accounts and services.

Beginning March 31, most of the companies have added Billing & Payment Alert services.

AEP’s Billing & Payment Alerts service sends enrolled customers an email or text message three days before payment is due. It also sends a message to confirm the company has received the payment. This week, AEP companies are introducing alerts for pending service disconnection due to nonpayment.

Enrolling is easy. Customers can enroll from the homepage of the local operating company website. They can select which alerts they want to receive. Customers also may receive alerts via text, email or both, depending on the preferences they indicate.

Alerts service is free to customers; however, message and data rates may apply.

“Proactively alerting customers to pending disconnection of service equals a win-win for AEP and our customers,” said Rob Cheripko, managing director – Customer Operations. “AEP will collect debts faster and avoid expensive truck rolls. The alerts will allow field personnel to work on other priorities while customers will be less likely to experience a loss in service due to nonpayment.”

AEP’s operating companies began offering Outage Alert services to customers March 3. This service notifies customers when power to their premise is interrupted and when it is restored. In between, it also provides updates on estimated restoration times. Already, more than 67,000 customers are enrolled for alert services.

Customer alerts about various account activities and situations is a service that customers desire and value. Leonard Lammlein, a customer service engineer principal located at AEP Ohio’s Fostoria Service Center said, “I have a couple of industrial customers that have been looking for some type of proactive outage alarm or alert for years. I now can steer them to subscribe to these alerts.”

 

AEP Retirees’ site publishes 400th story

The AEP Retirees website recently celebrated the publishing of its 400th story since its inception in April 2010.

With the posting of the Tanners Creek Plant retirement story May 18, the AEP Retirees website celebrated the publishing of its 400th story.

Launched in April 2010 as “the official website dedicated to serving retirees and other alumni of American Electric Power,” AEP Retirees has served as an external connection to the company for retirees and alumni. Since its formal launch, AEPretirees.com has been viewed over 963,000 times and 826 people are “followers” of the site. Since there is no formal login, the site can be viewed by anyone.

Although the site will continue to evolve, it currently features:

  • News and announcements from AEP;
  • Links to external news stories about AEP;
  • Feature stories about retirees;
  • Retirements and obituaries;
  • Historical photographs; and
  • Links to other useful websites, such as the AEP Retirement Savings Plan and the Wall of Heroes.

 

You may even subscribe to the site, and be notified by e-mail whenever a new item is posted. To date, the site has 826 subscribers.

There is also a Facebook page for retirees at https://www.facebook.com/AEPretirees.

 

Appalachian Power worker saves man from burning home

Appalachian Power Company line servicer Tommy Bryant rescued a man from the roof of his burning home, assisted the man’s elderly mother with her oxygen and then helped de-energize the service to the home.

(Story by Matthew Thompson)

WAYNE, W. Va. – A family in Wayne County has an Appalachian Power employee to thank after a man was rescued from a house fire May 14.

Tommy Bryant, a line servicer based in Huntington, used an Appalachian Power bucket truck to rescue Scott Dickerson from the roof of a burning home in Wayne.

View a video of the news story. (Please be patient — video is slow to load.)

Around 9 a.m. that morning, Bryant had just left a job and was headed to another when he noticed suspicious smoke coming from a nearby neighborhood.

“It seemed odd there was this type of smoke in the area of town where I was,” Bryant said. “I don’t know, but something told me to go look and see what was going on.”

Bryant followed the trail of smoke to a home on Keyser Street where Dickerson and his grandmother resided. While the grandmother had escaped the home, Dickerson had crawled out onto the roof to avoid the smoke and flames. The escape had left him stuck on the roof with no safe way to get down.

With police and fire departments still en route to the scene, Bryant jumped into action to rescue Dickerson. He parked his truck and maneuvered the bucket to the roof and safely brought the man down to the ground.

“All I wanted to do was what I needed to do so he wouldn’t get hurt,” Bryant said.

With Dickerson off the roof, Bryant ran around to the front of the home to check on the grandmother. The woman told Bryant she was on oxygen and that her tanks and machine were still inside the home. Bryant then braved the heavy smoke, crawled on his hands and knees and safely secured the oxygen tanks from the front of the house.

“I might have crawled 10 or 15 feet,” Bryant said. “It was too hot for me to go much further.”

Once Dickerson, his grandmother and the oxygen tanks were out of harm’s way, Bryant jumped back into his Appalachian role and de-energized service at the home.

Although the rescue happened in a matter of minutes, Bryant said the ordeal went by in slow motion.

“When you’re in the middle of it, it seems like its forever,” Bryant said. “But it all happened pretty quickly.”

Rick Wiseman, the Huntington district manager, said he was thankful that Bryant was nearby, willing to help and did so without anyone getting hurt.

“When I heard Tommy was involved, I was not surprised,” Wiseman said. “I’m very proud and so are all of his colleagues in the Huntington district.”

Bryant spent much of the afternoon in the media spotlight, providing interviews for local television stations. When he arrived home after work, Bryant said he spent a quiet evening with his wife, son and two grandchildren.

But Bryant did receive a little present from his wife for his courageous effort.

“She went out and got me a steak for dinner,” Bryant said.

Bryant has worked for Appalachian Power since 1996. He has been a line servicer for the past seven years. He previously served in the U.S Army and is a Desert Storm veteran. Bryant said a combination of his military service, Appalachian safety training and his upbringing gave him the confidence to jump into action.

Although many call him a hero, Bryant said he doesn’t consider himself one.

“The word hero is just not for me,” Bryant said. “The military, the police and the fire guys, they’re the heroes because they do it every day.”

Walking away

Jeff Harrah, an energy production supervisor at Kanawha River Plant, discusses the upcoming plant closure.

Jeff Harrah, an energy production supervisor at Kanawha River Plant, discusses the upcoming plant closure.

(Story by Phil Moye)

AEP will retire 23 coal-fired generating units in 2015 as part of the company’s plan for complying with the Mercury Air Toxics Standards approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in December 2011.

Jeff Harrah, who works at Appalachian Power Company’s Kanawha River Plant, talks about the plant closures from the perspective of affected employees.

View the Jeff Harrah video.

Kentucky Power electrician honored for efforts to save choking victim

(Story by Allison Barker)

PIKEVILLE, Ky. – Kentucky Power electrician Nathan Newsome’s split-second decision to help a choking victim has earned him the American Electric Power Chairman’s Life Saving Award and the American Red Cross Certificate of Extraordinary Personal Action.

Nick Akins, AEP’s president and chief executive officer, recently traveled to Pikeville to personally present Newsome with the chairman’s award, which recognizes employees for their selflessness in helping others.

“I am always moved, but never surprised, when I hear that an AEP employee steps up to help someone in need,” Akins said. “Nathan’s actions exemplify what we stand for and who we strive to be at Kentucky Power and AEP. We are incredibly proud of him for using the life-saving skills that he’s learned as an AEP employee to save the life of a stranger.”

AEP CEO Nick Akins (left) recently traveled to Pikeville to personally present Nathan Newsome (right) with the Chairman’s Life Saving Award.

When Newsome stopped by the Gold Ring Diner in Elkhorn City Jan. 15, he planned to grab a quick burger and fries and then head back to work. Instead, while waiting for his order, he jumped in to perform the Heimlich maneuver on Jim Reid as he was choking on pie and ice cream. No one else in the restaurant that day knew first aid and CPR.

“We are proud of Nathan and his heroic efforts to help a stranger in need,” said Greg Pauley, Kentucky Power president and chief operating officer. “When others were unsure what to do, he did not hesitate to step in. His quick decision is a source of pride and inspiration to all of us.”

Newsome, a five-year employee who received Red Cross safety training as part of his job, said it felt good knowing he could be of assistance.

“Everyone started thanking me for my help and I explained I just did what I had been trained to do,” Newsome said. “It feels really good to know you made a difference and knew what to do to help someone.”

The award Red Cross award Newsome earned is given to an individual or a team of individuals who saves or sustains a life by using skills and knowledge learned in an American Red Cross Health and Safety Services course.

“Every day, ordinary people make extraordinary contributions by putting their needs aside to help others in times of crisis,” said Joanna King, executive director of the Eastern Kentucky Chapter of the American Red Cross. “We are proud to present Nathan with this award. He had the courage to step up, take charge and use his Red Cross training to assist someone in a true emergency.”

Newsome was not the only Pikeville area employee to receive an award during Akins’ Kentucky visit. Akins also presented Kentucky Power Field Services Supervisor Carolyn Thacker with the 2014 AEP Utilities President’s Safety Award. The award recognized the Pikeville MRO group for achieving Triple Zero – zero recordable incidents, zero severity days and zero preventable accidents in 2014.

Nick Akins presents Kentucky Power Field Services Supervisor Carolyn Thacker with the 2014 AEP Utilities President’s Safety Award.

After the awards, Akins addressed questions and concerns from Kentucky Power’s Pikeville District employees. With the closure of many coal-fired power slated for the end of May, many employees wanted to hear from Akins about AEP’s future. Power generated at Big Sandy Unit 2 in Louisa will be among 6,750 megawatts lost this year.

“It’s been a challenge for a lot of people,” Akins said. “I can’t imagine how it would be to not only be retiring but to have the plant where you worked your whole life closing. That’s a pretty emotional experience. We’re going to get through it. We’ve been as compassionate as we can be in the process and that’s something we’re very committed to so that people can transition on with their lives.”

Atkins also told employees he was happy to join Pauley for a recent meeting with Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear following an order from the Kentucky Service Commission that questioned a formula in use for decades to determine fuel cost recovery. Pauley wanted employees to know “Nick had our backs.”

Akins said, “The order that came out seemed to indicate that we tried to hoodwink the commission and it really did disparage us in a lot of ways. I wanted the governor to know that that’s not the way we do business. … AEP is not about trying to hoodwink anybody. We are very transparent.”

Tanners Creek Plant ends more than six decades of service

(Story by Tracy Warner)

LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. — The bookends of Tanners Creek Plant’s lifespan speak volumes about the men and women who have worked there over six decades.

During its first two years in operation – 1951 and 1952 – Tanners Creek Plant was the world’s most efficient steam plant, an achievement recorded again in 1956.

Midway through the 63rd year of the plant’s tenure, when last year’s polar vortex taxed the generation systems of the Midwest and Eastern U.S., Tanners Creek employees – already knowing the plant would be retired the following year — met the challenge. All four units ran at capacity to meet the need. In a sterling example of the close-knit family that is the Tanners Creek work force, retirees came in to work alongside their brothers and sisters to keep the units running.

Throughout its working life, Tanners Creek has been a reliable staple for Indiana Michigan Power and AEP. At the end of May, Tanners Creek and its four units with a capacity of 995 megawatts (MW) will retire.

Three Essentials

Key dates in Tanners Creek Plant history

1951 — Tanners Creek Plant dedicated; Unit 1 operational; named world’s most efficient steam plant.

1952 — Unit 2 online; named world’s most efficient steam plant.

1954 — Unit 3 online.

1956 — Tanners Creek named world’s most efficient steam plant.

1964 — 500-MW Unit 4 online; becomes AEP”S largest generation facility.

2002 — Wins AEP Horizon Award after going two years without an injury.

2009-2011; 2011-2014 — Tanners Creek records two years with no recordable incidents.

2012 — Receives Governor’s Workplace Safety Award.

2015 — Tanners Creek Plant retires.

Tanners Creek Plant is named for the stream that flows into the Ohio River just west of the plant. The stream was named for John Tanner, an 18th century settler across the river, who founded Tanners Station, which later became Petersburg, Ky.

Company officials selected the 200-acre site because it met three essential needs: accessibility to condensing water, accessibility to coal and proximity to power load centers.

The plant’s dedication May 24, 1951, was a major event, drawing more than 600 people including Indiana Gov. Henry Schricker; Philip Sporn, president of AEP forerunner American Gas and Electric Co. and I&M; and business and civic leaders from communities that I&M served, including 25 from Fort Wayne.

“Electricity generated here will be used to serve farmers to produce food, factories to turn out defense material, homes to rear children in the American way of life, and schools and institutions to create public and industrial leaders of the future,” the Cincinnati Post reported the day before the dedication.

Pride and Determination

A year after Unit 1 began generating power, Unit 2 came online. Unit 3 began generating electricity in 1954. In 1964, the 500 MW Unit 4 made Tanners Creek the largest generating plant on the AEP system.

From left: Tanners Creek’s first plant manager, E.E. “Pat” Clapper, Indiana Gov. Henry Shricker and Philip Sporn, president of American Gas and Electric, look over the new Tanners Creek Unit 1 during the plant’s dedication May 24, 1951.

Unit 4 used supercritical technology, which has higher efficiency and lower emissions. Though it was not AEP’s first, Tanners Creek Unit 4 helped lead to better performance on later supercritical units.

During construction, workers moved 800,000 cubic yards of earth for the foundations of the first unit ­– for a floodwall to hold back the Ohio River. The floodwall was put to the test a number of times, the first within nine months of its completion.

Indeed, though even the damaging Flood of 1964 flooded Tanners Creek’s coal yards, the plant continued generating electricity, remembers Tom Kallmeyer, who worked at Tanners Creek for 42 years, the last 14 as plant manager. “We had to come in by boat, but we kept it running,” Kallmeyer said.

“The employees’ commitment to the community and their commitment to excellence is second to none,” said Tim Kerns, who served as Tanners Creek plant manager for five years before taking on the same role at Rockport. “Their versatility to take on different responsibilities stands out.”

Plant employees have long had a can-do approach. “When Tanners Creek said it would be done, it would be done,” said Larry Heffelmire, a 42-year Tanners Creek veteran.

Plant Manager Doug Rosenberger added, “Whenever there is a need, you can count on the employees to be here and to do everything they can to do it right. They’ve always been dedicated.”

That dedication was never more apparent than during the 2014 polar vortex.

Tanners Creek: important in the community

  • Annual payroll: $7.7 million (2014)
  • Payroll taxes: $3.4 million (2013)
  • Local property tax payments:  approximately $1.9 million

“Everybody, including retirees, were coming in,” Rosenberger said. “Folks from all different groups were coming in and doing jobs that weren’t their normal jobs to get it done.”

Consider that determination to keep Tanners Creek at full capacity came after employees had already learned the plant was to be retired.

“I have marveled at the unwavering dedication that the Tanners Creek employees continue to exhibit toward their job responsibilities in face of their pending plant retirement and job disposition,” said John Mazzone, managing director – Fleet Performance and I&M. “Their performance has not only kept Tanners Creek plant safe and compliant, but also has managed to make substantial commercial contributions to I&M and the corporation, all while under glide-path operation. Theirs is truly a story of focusing their energy positively by taking ownership. It has been my privilege to know and work with such great people.”

Safety, safety, safety

Heffelmire has seen many changes over his 42 years at Tanners Creek, but none compare to the improvements in safety. “Safety glasses came along, ear protection came along … The biggest thing here is safety,” he said.

“When Tanners Creek said it would be done, it would be done,” said Larry Heffelmire, a 42-year Tanners Creek veteran.

The plant’s commitment to safety is apparent in the number safety awards and recognitions the plant received, particularly for long stretches of accident-free days. The plant’s reputation for safety led to winning the coveted AEP Horizon Award in 2002.

Employees’ ongoing safety awareness was recognized again in 2012, when the plant was awarded the Indiana Governor’s Workplace Safety Award.

Former plant manager Kallmeyer said safety awareness – both for themselves and for co-workers – has long been pervasive at Tanners Creek. “The employees had a sense of safety,” he said. “It was something they took a lot of pride in, being safe and taking care of each other.”

People Helping People

When Tanners Creek employees and retirees gathered in late April for what will likely be the last of annual service dinners, two current employees topped the list for tenure.

Ronald E. Thomas, a maintenance welder, is the most senior current employee, while Heffelmire, process supervisor, started Nov. 21, 1972 – a week after Thomas.

Thomas, Heffelmire and many other current and previous employees described a close-knit family atmosphere among the Tanners Creek employees.

“It hasn’t been hard to come to work every day when you like the people you work with and the people you work for,” Thomas said.

Heffelmire describes how employees help each other – and each other’s friends and relatives – off the job. “Everybody’s still friends, they’re brothers,” he said. “People in operations are tighter than their own families.”

“It hasn’t been hard to come to work every day when you like the people you work with and the people you work for,” said Ronald E. Thomas, a maintenance welder and the plant’s most senior current employee.

Rosenberger agreed. “This is home and family to the employees,” he said. “They’ve always been dedicated. They chip in together in times of need like you don’t see elsewhere. It’s both on and off the job.”

That sense of family and helping extends beyond the plant to Lawrenceburg and surrounding communities.

“The relationship between Tanners Creek employees with the Lawrenceburg community is unique,” said Kerns, plant manager from 2006-2011. “The plant is right in the middle of town, and there has been a great working relationship between the plant, its employees and the community.”

People Helping People, a non-profit group formed by Tanners Creek employees, started with a $400 donation in 1988 and has grown to annually raise about $40,000 and distribute 70,000 cans of food to pantries and other non-profits in Tanners Creek’s home county of Dearborn as well as neighboring Switzerland, Ohio, and Ripley counties.

“We’ve gone from one pickup truck of groceries to a semi-load,” said Sonia Deshong, co-chair of the People Helping People committee and former safety supervisor at the plant who recently transferred to Columbus as a contract analyst. “It’s supported by the employees and retirees and contractors and vendors. When you ask, you get support.”

Fundraisers include a golf outing, a canned food drive and the spring “marathon,” when employees walk to raise money and socialize with a picnic in front of the plant’s office. Though Tanners Creek is being retired, plans call for employees at the adjacent, AEP-operated Lawrenceburg Gas Plant to continue the People Helping People program.

[Mark McCullough], executive vice president – Generation, joined the marathon event May 8 to thank employees.

“I began my career at Tanners Creek Plant in 1981 and worked there for about 12 years, so this plant holds special memories for me,” said McCullough. “I learned a lot from the people at Tanners Creek – about power plants, about AEP and this industry, and about myself and the kind of employee and person I wanted to be. My time at Tanners Creek had a major impact on who I am today.”

Honoring Tanners Creek

Near the end of the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly, lawmakers adopted a resolution honoring the plant. Among the compelling words in the resolution:

“Indiana Michigan Power’s Tanners Creek Plant will cease producing electricity in May 2015, but its legacy as a home to many families, community steward, and a reliable electric provider to the people of Indiana will never be forgotten.”

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Kammer Plant helped usher in major changes to AEP

Plant Manager Dan Moyer stands in front of Kammer Plant, located along the Ohio River near Moundsville, W.Va. The three-unit plant has been producing electricity since 1958.Photo by: Sarah Hunyadi

MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — Unlike most other American Electric Power generating plants, Kammer Plant was not initially owned by the company. Its first two 210-megawatt units, placed into operation in 1958, were owned by the Ormet Corporation.

The plant, located on the Ohio River about 11 miles south of Moundsville, began in the midst of the postwar industrial boom, and since then it has served the community and its customers admirably.

Currently owned by AEP Generation Resources Inc., AEP’s competitive generation affiliate, Kammer is jointly managed and operated with neighboring Mitchell Plant by Kentucky Power. Kammer is made up of three coal-fired steam generating units with a total net generating capacity of 630 megawatts.

The plant is among those to be retired by midyear as part of AEP’s plan for complying with the Mercury Air Toxics Standards for existing power plants, approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in December 2011.

“I am really proud of Kammer Plant employees, present and past,”  said [Mark McCullough], executive vice president – Generation. “The employees at Kammer have a long tradition of working safely, taking a disciplined approach to what they do, and, most importantly, caring for one another. They are an outstanding group of people.”

At its peak, Kammer Plant burned 2.1 million tons of coal per year. The plant was built at its location to take advantage of the Consolidated Coal Company’s Ireland mine located across State Route 2. As the years went by, the coal has come from various locations as the facility met changing environmental regulations.

More about Kammer Plant

Stack height: 900 feet

Coal yard storage capacity: 500,000 tons

Annual payroll: $2.5 million (2014) $3.6 million (2013)

Payroll taxes: $1.2 million (2013)

Local property tax, state business & occupation tax payments:  approximately $3.3 million

The plant achieved a record run for all three units combined of 118.5 days from June 6, 1973, to October 2, 1973. From March 25 to Nov. 1, 2001, Unit 1 concluded a record run during which the unit produced electricity continuously for 221.2 days. That run exceeded previous plant marks of 205.3 days in a row by Unit 1 in 1960; and 205.2 days in a row by Unit 2 in 1973.

The plant has accomplished much more than dependably producing electricity. Over the years, plant employees have been involved in local schools, blood drives, United Way campaigns and other community fundraising efforts, local sports leagues, local firefighting and emergency services, and more.

“Kammer Plant and its employees have been proud stewards of our community for more than 50 years,” said Dan Moyer, plant manager. “We appreciate the community and the support they have given us over this length of time.”

Moyer added that Kammer Plant employees have taken great pride in providing electricity while protecting air and water quality, recycling materials and maintaining an exemplary record of public and work safety.

Kammer’s shared grounds with Mitchell Plant include about 1,125 acres of meadows, old-field successional lands, wetlands and riparian forest formerly used for coal mining and industrial purposes that have been enhanced by habitat management activities laid out in a comprehensive wildlife stewardship plan.

The effort has included installation of wood duck, bluebird and bat nesting boxes, osprey nesting platforms and a 2.5-acre wildflower/butterfly garden, with employees working alongside government agencies, community and business groups. The Kammer-Mitchell site has been certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council.

“There have been ospreys nesting on our barge unloader structures at Kammer and Mitchell for years now,” said Al Smith, energy production superintendent. “Even with the movement and noise from the operating of the barge unloaders, they continue to utilize the same nest areas. We also have red fox, geese, ducks, and deer that frequent the property.

“Kammer and Mitchell employees have always been dedicated to the environmental concerns of the surrounding wildlife and keeping the habitat areas intact,” Smith said.

Open house held for employees, retirees at Kammer Plant

Top to bottom: Russell Feist, Charlie Nolte, Neil Patterson and John Ray.

Kammer Plant held an open house and luncheon for current and former employees at the plant’s learning center April 24. More than 150 attendees enjoyed reminiscing with good friends, good food, photographs of employees and scenes at the plant through the years, and plant tours. (See photos of the open house in the slideshow at the top of the article.)

Several retirees who attended the event started at Kammer at the very beginning, including:

  • Russell Feist worked at Tidd Plant for 10 years before coming to Kammer in March 1958 as master maintenance man. “There was lots of construction going on then,” he said. “I enjoyed the people and enjoyed the work.” He retired in 1990 as maintenance supervisor with 42 years of service.
  • Charlie Nolte, payroll supervisor, arrived at Kammer in March 1957 and retired in 1988, with 40 years of service to AEP. Nolte worked at Windsor Plant for 10 years before coming to Kammer. Ann Shook and Jackie Sebulsky, retired employees who worked with Nolte in the accounting department, also attended the open house. “This plant was a good place to work. There are lots of good people here,” he said.
  • Neil Patterson started in 1950 at Windsor Plant as a laborer and came to Kammer in November 1957 as auxiliary equipment operator, helping start up the first unit in 1958. He retired in 1994 as  shift engineer. “When all is said and done, you remember the people you worked with, and the camaraderie,” he said. He noted that both his own father and the father of fellow retiree Lou Melchiori (who also attended the open house) worked at Windsor Plant.
  • John Ray, shift engineer, had worked previously at Kyger Creek Plant and Tidd Plant. He arrived at Kammer in 1958 in operations and helped start up the first unit. As a startup engineer, he also worked at Muskingum River Plant and Cardinal Plant Unit 3. He retired with approximately 34 years of service with AEP and OVEC.

 

Also attending were former plant managers Greg Massey and Wayne Irons, as well as Chuck George, who started his AEP career at Kammer and is now plant manager at Cardinal Plant. Plant managers through the years at Kammer have been Houston E. Crouse, 1958-1966; Cecil Shay, 1966-1978; Nile Richmond, 1978-1981; P.E. “Gene” Bischof, 1981-1995; Ralph Life, 1995-1999; Greg Massey, 1999-2001; Wayne Irons, 2001-2010, and Dan Moyer, 2010-2015.

Senior Generation management attended to recognize employees and retirees, including McCullough; [Dan Lee], senior vice president – Fossil & Hydro Generation; [Toby Thomas], vice president – Competitive Generation; and [Jeffery LaFleur], vice president – Generating Assets, APCO/Ky.

This undated photo from company archives shows an early view of Kammer Plant.

Kammer Plant’s origins are unique in AEP System

Kammer Plant’s origins are unlike any other generating plant in the AEP System.

In 1956, American Gas & Electric executed agreements to build and operate electric power facilities for a new aluminum reduction plant and rolling mill operation in Clarington, Ohio, and to supply electric power for a new aluminum reduction plant in Ravenswood, W.Va.

These agreements were major watershed events for AG&E, paving the way for a $700 million plan to increase the System generating capacity to nearly 7,000 MW by 1960. AG&E broke ground for Kammer Plant in 1956.

In 1958, the company was building five major power plants simultaneously – Kammer and Sporn in West Virginia; Muskingum River in Ohio; Clinch River in Virginia; and Breed in Indiana. That same year, the company placed into commercial operation five generating units with a combined capacity of 1.1 million kilowatts, a company record at the time.

Herbert A. Kammer, namesake of Kammer Plant.

If 1958 was a huge year for the company, the month of May was especially significant:

  • On May 12, American Gas & Electric Co. officially changed its name to American Electric Power.
  • On May 19, Olin Mathieson Chemical Corporation and Revere Copper & Brass Inc. formed the Olin Revere Metals Corp., or Ormet, in Hannibal, Ohio. Ormet was a 150,000 ton aluminum reduction and fabrication complex, second largest in the U.S. at the time, starting production in January 1959.
  • On May 24, Kammer’s first unit was paralleled to the grid. Unit 2 followed October 9, 1958, and Unit 3 on March 5, 1959. A subsidiary of Ormet initially owned Kammer units 1 and 2; AEP operated all three units, and all three were integrated into the AEP System.

 

In 1967, AEP purchased Units 1 and 2 from Ormet, and in a 25-year agreement, Ormet became AEP’s largest customer. Industry changes later altered that arrangement. Ormet finally ceased operations at the Hannibal, Ohio, aluminum plant in October 2013.

Kammer Plant was named for Herbert A. Kammer, who spent 42 years with AEP, serving as executive vice president – Engineering and Construction under President Philip Sporn, during the time the plant bearing his name was built and placed into service. He ended his AEP career in 1964 as senior vice president and director, and died in 1966. Over the course of his career, Kammer guided the engineering, design and construction of power plants with a total generating capacity of nearly 11,000 MW.

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Editor’s Note: A note of appreciation is due to Dan Moyer, Al Smith, Russ Gwin, Rita Kramer and Carmen Prati-Miller for their contributions.

Retirees can share skills, learn new ones by helping a deserving family build their home in 2015

AEP retirees Ronald McCrea, Dale Krummen, Mike Martin, Larry Hutchison and Thomas Beck.

AEP retirees (from left) Ronald McCrea, Dale Krummen, Mike Martin, Larry Hutchison and Thomas Beck.

(Story by Barry Schumann)

AEP active and retired employees have helped 17 families build their own new homes in central Ohio since 1996, and it’s time to do it again.

Through the years, AEP volunteers including retirees working alongside members of the families who would occupy the new homes have helped build houses in Columbus neighborhoods, including North and South Linden, Franklinton, the Hilltop, Milo-Grogan, Weinland Park and the South Side.

That’s 17 families and dozens of people who are living in safe, decent and affordable homes. And seven communities that are improved through the addition of new homeowners committed to the neighborhood.

Now, active and retired employees are helping the Sanya and Andre Millsop family build a three-bedroom, two-bath home at 97 E. Woodrow Ave. on Columbus’ South Side. The Millsops, who have met income and other eligibility criteria, will provide up to 250 hours of sweat equity to take ownership once the build in completed sometime in October.

“A team of AEP retirees works on the home each Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.,” said retiree crew leader Dale Krummen, who has been assisting AEP community champ Jim Rosing on local AEP home builds since 2011.

“This effort supplements the progress of active AEP employees, who work on site each Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.,” Krummen said. While full day commitments are encouraged, they are not necessary. Retirees are welcome to join with active employees to assist with the home build on Saturdays as well, he added.

Rosing said AEP retirees in addition to Krummen who regularly join the Wednesday crew include Ronald McCrea, Mike Martin, Larry Hutchison, Thomas Beck, Butch O’Brien, Ernie Pfund and Jim Michalec. Krummen and Rosing agreed they would like to see other retirees join the effort and rekindle old friendships or start new ones.

Materials, tools and job-specific training are provided on-site, where the day begins with a safety briefing, Krummen noted.

To volunteer for the Wednesday retiree crew, contact Krummen at 614-440-3042, dakrummen@yahoo.com. Questions and inquiries are welcome.

For information on joining Saturday work dates, contact Rosing at 614-716-6856, jrrosing@aep.com.

Muskingum River Plant has been economic stalwart in southeastern Ohio for over 61 years

AEP’s Muskingum River Plant — a large, five-unit, coal-fired power generation facility on the edge of Appalachia in southeastern Ohio’s Morgan and Washington counties — will be retired in May.

(Story by Dave Waitkus and Vikki Michalski)

The closing of AEP’s Muskingum River Plant in May will signal the end of a long, eventful and prosperous era in southeastern Ohio.

Muskingum River Plant consists of five generating units with total net generating capacity of 1,425 megawatts. Unit 5, which began operating in 1968, is the plant’s only supercritical unit. The unit is equipped with low-nitrogen oxide burners and a selective catalytic reduction system to address nitrogen oxide emissions. It also has electrostatic precipitators to capture particulate emissions.

The plant is situated along Ohio’s Muskingum River near the communities of Beverly and Waterford. Units 1-4 are located in Morgan County, while Unit 5 is in Washington County. Currently, 95 employees work at the plant site, with about 80 specifically on the plant payroll.

When AEP first announced its fleet transition plan in 2011, the company said it would retire Muskingum River Plant units 1 through 4. At that time, the company said it intended to refuel Unit 5 to natural gas and reduce the unit’s capacity. On July 11, 2013, AEP announced that the 585-megawatt Unit 5 would close, as well.

A 28-year veteran at Muskingum River Plant, Nate Long assumed the role of plant manager in August 2012.

“Employees clearly understand units 1-4 have reached their end of life. But they were hopeful we would convert Unit 5 to natural gas,” said Nate Long, plant manager at Muskingum River since 2012. “History shows Unit 5 to be one of the best units in AEP’s generation fleet.  Unfortunately, the economics and future market projections do not support the conversion.”

At the plant’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2003, Randy Bragg, former longtime production services leader, summed up the working experience at the facility.

“It’s been an excellent run,” Bragg said. “It’s the only job I’ve really ever had. I started here three weeks after leaving the Army. It’s been a good place to be. There have been some bumps, but we’ve gotten through them. I’ve had a lot of fun. I feel very blessed to have this job. We live in an age and a region where good jobs are at a premium. I have a great one.”

Dan Kohler, who served as plant manager at Muskingum River from 1997-2007, credited Muskingum River’s first 50 years to the strong work ethic of employees and pride in doing their jobs.

Construction on Muskingum River Plant’s Unit 5 began in 1966.

“Success at Muskingum River is an employee tradition based on skills developed during their careers and a willingness to be innovative to continue to move our plant along with what the current market will support,” Kohler said. “It’s been 50 years, but employees’ skills are matched and change right along with technology. We have to be flexible and adaptable to meet the challenge of constant change. It’s not without sacrifice and pain.”

Muskingum River was AEP’s newest coal-fired power plant in 1953 when it began generating 205 megawatts of electricity along the western banks of the Muskingum River in southern Morgan County. The new plant — a mine-mouth facility — received its fuel by overland conveyor from the former AEP-owned and now closed Central Ohio Coal Company. By the late 1950s, the plant was producing 840 megawatts of power from four units. Muskingum River quickly had become an economic force and a primary employer in the surrounding small communities.

In 1968, Muskingum River Plant expanded into Washington County and became one of Ohio’s largest generating facilities when its new 585-megawatt supercritical unit began operating. With the addition of Unit 5, the plant’s power production capabilities grew to 1,425 megawatts, and it began consuming more than 3.5 million tons of coal annually.

The construction of Unit 5 was the catalyst for Central Ohio Coal’s expansion as well, resulting in the construction of the world’s largest walking dragline — the Big Muskie. The huge machine — retired in 1991 and dismantled in 1999 — was built in the late 1960s to help meet Muskingum River Plant’s huge appetite for coal.

In addition to precipitators, the installation of low-nitrogen oxide –or low-NOx burners — and the switch from high-sulfur to low-sulfur coal on Unit 5, the installation of a dust suppression system for coal transfer chutes and new coal sources for units 1-4 further reduced the plant’s effects on the environment.

The construction of Unit 5 at Muskingum River Plant was the catalyst for Central Ohio Coal’s expansion as well, resulting in the construction of the world’s largest walking dragline — the Big Muskie.

Muskingum River’s recycling program also dramatically reduced the amount of discarded material that had previously been landfilled. Coal ash and boiler slag generated during combustion was reprocessed for use in paints, plastics, roofing shingles, aggregate replacement and blasting grit. The plant also recycles used oil, paints, paper, cardboard, pallets, aluminum cans, fluorescent lamps and batteries.

Those efforts did not go unnoticed. In 1999, Muskingum River became the first power generation facility to receive the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s Governor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Pollution Prevention.

In 2004, Unit 5 added a $98 million selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system. SCR is the most effective current technology for reducing nitrogen oxides (NOx) from coal-fired flue gases.

Business of the Year

In 2005, Muskingum River Plant was named the “Business of the Year” by the Muskingum Valley Area Chamber of Commerce “for contributing daily to the quality of life we´ve come to take for granted.”

In accepting the award, Kohler said, “We are proud of our community and do the things we do every day because we believe they are the right things to do. Functioning as a business with as little negative impact on the community as possible and giving back has been a long-term goal of the plant. Many of our employees volunteer their time in a variety of community areas such as firefighters, EMTs, village council members and board of directors of various organizations.”

The following contributions were among those cited in the award that began with “this business”:

  • Is a major contributor to the local economy, with 250 employees and an annual payroll of more than $20 million;
  • Has demonstrated its continued commitment to the area through the investment of nearly $100 million in new environmental control equipment;
  • Is an environmental steward, protecting air and water quality and employee and public safety through the reduction in use of hazardous chemicals and other materials and through recycling;
  • Is the first of its kind to be recognized by Gov. Bob Taft and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for Outstanding Achievement in Pollution Prevention;
  • Is a Wildlife Habitat Council-certified wildlife habitat;
  • Is a major sponsor of Beverly´s new Veterans Memorial;
  • Is a gold-level sponsor for the American Cancer Society´s Relay for Life for Washington, Morgan and Noble counties;
  • Supports our children by providing outdoor environmental education opportunities, funding for recognition for scholastic, athletic and musical accomplishments and endeavors, and assistance with the development of grant programs.
    In 2011, Muskingum River Plant employees celebrated two full years without an OSHA recordable incident.

Also in November 2005, plant employees celebrated “One Million Safe Workhours” without a disabling injury. Employees followed up that accomplishment by completing two full years without an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recordable injury Dec. 4, 2011.

Mark McCullough, executive vice president – Generation, captured his feeling about the significance of the milestone:

“WOW! This is an OUTSTANDING accomplishment. Thanks to everyone at Muskingum for placing safety where it belongs — right up front. This is an incredible testimony that Zero Harm is possible in any circumstance. Performance like this doesn’t just happen, it takes passion, commitment and diligence on a daily basis. Maintaining this level of performance is just as hard or harder than getting there in the first place. Congratulations to you all.”

“It’s hard to put in to words what Muskingum River Plant has meant to so many over the last 61 years,” Long concluded. “So many former employees made a good living and raised their families here. The plant has been an economic staple in the local communities and in southeastern Ohio. And for AEP, Muskingum River Plant has been a source of safe, reliable power while maintaining a high level of environmental excellence. Now it’s time to move on.”

Obituaries

AEP Service Corporation

Vincent Badali, 89, retired, Rockefeller Center, died March 12.

George Bilderback Jr., 79, retired, AEP Headquarters, died March 12.

Charles Falcone, 72, retired, AEP Headquarters, died Jan. 5.

Ronald House, 80, retired, AEP Headquarters, died Feb. 18.

Robbie McGraw, 67, AEP Headquarters, died March 28.

Rupert Lanzador Jr., 69, AEP Headquarters, died Jan. 28.

Clinton Pennington, 72, AEP Headquarters, died March 18.

Thomas Stephenson, 86, retired, Central Operations Center, died March 15.

Joan St. James, 91, retired, AEP Headquarters, died March 24.

AEP River Operations

Gary Arthur, 63, River Transportation Division, died March 25.

Okey Meadows, 72, retired, River Transportation Division, died March 9.

Howard Patterson, 89, retired, River Transportation Division, died Feb. 28.

Appalachian Power Company

John Bartholomew, 88, retired, Huntington Office, died Feb. 26.

Evelyn Buckland, 95, retired, Pulaski Office, died Feb. 24.

Barbara Cantline, 83, retired, Christiansburg Office, died Oct. 27.

Elmer Dempsey, 76, retired, Sporn Plant, died March 5.

Martha Farmer, 76, retired, Wytheville Service Center, died March 6.

Guy Furr Jr., 80, retired, Bb&T Building, died Dec. 13.

Roger Harrison, 63, North Charleston Service Center, died April 1.

Charles Maynard, 90, retired, Williamson Office, died Feb. 22.

William McKinney, 86, retired, Smith Mountain Hydro, died March 23.

William Perdue, 87, retired, Bluefield Office, died Feb. 12.

Marvin Pollard, 84, retired, Bb&T Building, died March 15.

Ralph Puckett, 85, retired, Lebanon Service Center, died Nov. 30.

Dana Thompson, 73, retired, Amos Plant, died March 4.

Columbus Southern Power Company

Harley Amick, 79, retired, 850 Tech Center, died March 8.

Indiana Michigan Power Company

Frank Arsenault, 86, retired, Cook Nuclear Plant, died March 30.

Devon Base, 84, retired, South Bend Service Center, died Feb. 28.

Roger Borden, 76, retired, Three Rivers Service Center, died March 26.

John Donnelly, 89, retired, Three Rivers Service Center, died March 13.

Rosemary Hartman, 90, retired, South Bend Service Center, died March 8.

Leslie Ott, 79, retired, Cook Nuclear Plant, died March 3.

Carl Simmons, 89, retired, Spy Run Service Center, died March 23.

Kentucky Power Company

Jerry Gabbert, 71, retired, Big Sandy Plant, died March 21.

Ohio Power Company

Robert Chapman, 80, retired, Southern Ohio Coal Company, died March 27.

William Christman Jr., 86, retired, Athens Service Center, died March 27.

Bill Clevenger, 86, retired, Lancaster Service Building, died March 9.

Carlos Collingsworth, 71, retired, Portsmouth Service Center, died March 16.

Albert Edgington, 90, retired, Zanesville Office, died March 8.

Thomas Hart, 67, Kammer Plant, died March 20.

Jean Jenkins, 79, retired, Portsmouth Service Center, died March 23.

Rodger Johnson, 88, retired, Lancaster Office Building, died Feb. 22.

Vernal Johnson, 88, retired, Gavin Plant, died March 11.

Charles Milligan, 74, Central Ohio Coal Company, died March 20.

Isabel Prieto, 75, retired, Canton General Service Center, died Nov. 18.

Bernard Sharrock, 87, retired, Coshocton Office Building, died March 15.

Carl Shepherd, 93, retired, Steubenville Service Center, died March 6.

John Stefoff, 88, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died March 15.

Charles Steil, 67, Zanesville Service Center, died March 15.

James Stephens, 70, Muskingum River Plant, died March 5.

Hugh Stewart, 85, retired, Lancaster Office Building, died March 19.

Hiram Stutes Jr., 91, retired, Gavin Plant, died March 19.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma

Marie Dennis, 86, retired, Tulsa General Office, died Feb. 27.

Takhaet Gibbs, 36, Tulsa General Office, died March 27.

Laura Heller, 91, retired, Tulsa General Office, died March 11.

James Hope, 71, AEP/PSO Dakota Room, died Feb. 18.

Albert Lane, 86, retired, Tulsa General Office, died March 1.

Carlos Pinkston, 72, retired, Tulsa General Office, died March 12.

James Venable, 86, retired, Tulsa General Office, died March 25.

Larry Wilson, 71, retired, Mid Metro Office, died March 24.

Southwestern Electric Power Company

Betty Gaines, 86, retired, Shreveport General Office, died March 3.

Mandy Harwell, 75, retired, Shreveport General Office, died Feb. 23.

Robert McGill, 66, Nashville Office, died Feb. 26.

Henry Nash, 89, retired, Shreveport General Office, died April 1.

Charles Rowe, 75, retired, Shreveport General Office, died Feb. 25.

Charles Townes, 92, retired, Shreveport General Office, died March 10.

Texas Central

Jack Brown, 83, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died March 1.

Travis Childers, 64, El Campo Service Center, died March 23.

William Gray, 82, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died March 17.

Jack Prentiss, 89, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died Feb. 8.

Texas North

Eugene Allison, 84, retired, Abilene General Office, died March 7.

Royce Smith, 80, retired, Abilene General Office, died March 3.

Jimmy Womack, 89, retired, Abilene General Office, died March 12.

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