|Appalachian Power line mechanic Bubba Smith delivers gift bags and buckets for young victims of domestic and/or sexual violence at the Women’s Resource Center in Radford, Va.|
Story by Barry Schumann
As they’ve done every year since 2005, AEP active and retired employees led and participated in local community service projects that benefitted from $300 mini-grants from AEP. Employees of six AEP operating companies helped plan, coordinate or lend a hand in 22 projects in nine states Oct. 24 as part of the national Make A Difference Day program.
America celebrated the spirit of volunteerism during the 24h annual “national day of doing good” — the largest national day of community service. The day is sponsored by USA TODAY in partnership with Points of Light.
AEP has provided grants of up to $300 per project since 2005 to build on employees’ interest in making their communities better places for everyone. The mini-grant program supports AEP’s community relations goal – to support and play an active, positive role in the communities where we live and work.
Appalachian Power’s Pulaski Service Center in Virginia doubled up on Make a Difference Day projects.
Ocal “Bubba” Smith II, line mechanic A, coordinated efforts with the Youth of Virginia Speak Out program (YOVASO) at Auburn Middle School in Riner to purchase gift bags and gift buckets that the students filled with toys and other items for 21 children served by the Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley. The Radford non-profit provides a safe place to stay and services for adults and children who are victims of domestic or sexual violence.
“The students wanted to show these children that people do care and one way to do that was by giving them a little something to put a smile on their face while they’re in a safe place,” said Smith. “I would like to thank AEP for the generous donation to be able to do this.” Joining Smith in the project were fellow service center employees R. Mark Dalton, Anthony Austin, Wayne Armbrister and Gregory Boksa.
Also in Pulaski, Jim Casteele, senior technician, joined fellow employees in collecting and purchasing food for the Beans and Rice Inc. backpack program that supplies food to feed low income children in the Pulaski area. Each weekend, backpacks are filled and sent home with students to ensure they have healthy food over the weekend.
“Here in Pulaski, we do our best to assist those less fortunate in the community,” Casteele said. “This money really helps out and it feels good to let people know that this is a benefit of working for AEP and Appalachian Power.” Joining Casteele on the project were Tommy Akers, Jeff Worrell, Elizabeth Whitman, Wayne Queen and Jon Fitzwater.
Other Make A Difference Day highlights:
Albany, Ohio – Active and retired employees from Mountaineer Plant and service centers in Athens, Pomeroy and Wellston rolled up their sleeves to help prepare informational mailings to prospective donors on behalf of Alexander Local Schools and Spartan Athletic Boosters. The organizations are building a wellness center and clinic to serve this southeastern Ohio area. The mailing was focused on fund raising to complete the interior of the building and purchase related equipment.
Columbus, Ohio – Postponed due to delays in relocating The Ohio State University Star House to a new facility, central Ohio employees plan to hold a birthday celebration for homeless youth from the Columbus area. The OSU Star House is a 24-hour drop-in center for homeless youth ages 14 to 24.
Delaware, Ohio – AEP Service Corporation employees assisted the Humane Society of Delaware County with facility-related projects to improve the overall appearance. The volunteers spread mulch on dog runs, spruced up landscaping and cleaned highway right-of-way in front of the facility. Employees also collected and donated pet food for use at the facility.
Long Bottom, Ohio – Employees including several from Gavin Plant helped the Chester Ball Association erect outfield fences around new ballfields at the Angela Eason Memorial Park in southeastern Ohio.
Fayetteville, Ark. – Employees and family members assisted in cooking the pre-meal for Sunday Supper, a community meal for homeless and food insecure families in northwest Arkansas. The meal is served in partnership with local churches, businesses and Tri Cycle Farms, a non-profit vegetable and fruit garden that stewards food awareness, education and empowerment. Volunteers also worked on maintenance of kitchen equipment and the kitchen area. Grant funds were used for cooking equipment and food staples for the Sunday Supper kitchen.
Fort Wayne, Ind. – Employees and family members distributed food items and filled food baskets during the Saturday Helping Hands Food Distribution at the Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana, while others stocked the food bank’s Community Cupboard. On a typical Saturday, the food bank serves 700 households with perishables including bakery, dairy and fresh fruit and dairy. The AEP Foundation in 2013 awarded a $250,000 grant to upgrade the food bank and expand and enhance operations.
Lawrenceburg, Ind. – Lawrenceburg Plant employees assisted People Helping People in shopping for food to supplement the Thanksgiving meal provisions of several local food pantries. People for People raises funds to help feed the less fortunate throughout the year through 14 food pantries in three counties in southern Indiana.
McAlester, Okla. – McAlester Service Center employees joined with the McAlester Make a Difference Day organization and the McAlester Knights of Columbus to make minor home repairs, winterizing and maintenance projects for senior citizens and individuals with disabilities at three residences. Volunteers installed smoke alarms, covered windows with plastic, replaced incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, pruned and hauled away trash. Funds were used to purchase supplies and tools for the projects.
Milton, W.Va. – Employees from a number of West Virginia locations including the Hurricane Call Center, Amos Plant, Milton Service Center and the Charleston area carefully repaired about 350 feet of barbed wire fence at the River Cities Therapy and Recreation Center, which provides equine-assisted therapy and activities for children and adults. The mini-grant also enabled the purchase of sawdust for horse stalls.
New Haven, W.Va. – Active and retired employees from Gavin, Mountaineer and Sporn plants and the Southern Ohio Coal Company joined with the New Haven and Community Volunteer Fire Department to purchase and distribute smoke detectors to first-grade students at New Have Elementary School. The mini-grant enabled the 15-year-old program to continue despite funding cuts from the local county government.
Pataskala, Ohio – AEP Service Corp. employees assisted Licking Heights High School National Honor Society students in collecting books, making blankets and creating activity bags to be distributed to young patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.
Prue, Okla. – Active and retired employees at the Tulsa General Office purchased and installed concrete benches at the commons green space at Prue Public Schools northeast of Tulsa. The installation continued employees’ efforts to improve the community green space, where they planted trees and shrubs using a 2014 Make a Difference Day mini-grant.
Roanoke, Va. – Roanoke area employees and family members cleaned and organized the food pantry and freezer at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Virginia. Volunteers also updated the toy room at the home-away-from-home for families of critically ill children. Grant funds will be used to buy locking devices for video gaming systems at the facility.
San Angelo, Texas – San Angelo employees volunteer each week for Meals for the Elderly, and used the mini-grant to support the non-profit in purchasing food containers, kitchen supplies and office supplies. Meals for the Elderly provides nourishing meals to the homebound in the west Texas community.
Shreveport, La. – Although the event was postponed due to inclement weather, Shreveport employees once again worked to improve and refurbish Right to Play’s inclusive playground for all children including those with physical, sensory or developmental disabilities. Work included adding soil and mulch, picking up trash, pruning, planting new shrubs and flowers, repainting equipment, applying rain sealant, sweeping sidewalks and replacing bricks.
Stevensville, Mich. – D.C. Cook Plant employees and spouses working with Brighten Your Corner through the Berrien County Baptist Church purchased, prepared and boxed delivery-ready Thanksgiving meals for six needy families. Recipients will include senior citizens, young adults and children served by Brighten Your Corner. Meals including turkey, ham, potatoes, green bean casserole ingredients, rolls, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pies will be delivered just prior to Thanksgiving Day.
Texarkana, Texas – Employees from the Texarkana Service Center and Annex worked at Senior Citizens Services of Texarkana to assemble a kitchen cart used in food preparation for home-delivered meals, provided yard maintenance and pruned bushes and trees. Senior Citizens Services delivers more than 16,000 meals each month to the elderly and disabled in Bowie, Cass, Red River and Titus counties. The mini-grant was also used to purchase kitchen utensils and other equipment for the preparation and delivery of meals.
Tulsa, Okla. – Active and retired employees at the Tulsa General Office gathered donations of 223 items of new and gently used warm clothing for Iron Gate Trust, a non-profit soup kitchen serving at-risk and homeless individuals and families. Iron Gate serves about 600 plates of food daily and provides warm clothing to those in need as the weather turns colder.
Tulsa, Okla. – Tulsa General Office employees, along with the Association of Caring Employees (ACE) Team, collected food donations that will ultimately be boxed and delivered for Thanksgiving to 10 of the neediest families at partner school Central High School. The employees will use the mini-grant to purchase any needed foods not donated.
Zanesville, Ohio – Employees at the Zanesville Service Center supported the Zanesville Jaycees’ Redball Golf Tournament, which annually raises funds to take between 40 and 60 economically disadvantaged children Christmas shopping.
To learn more about national Make a Difference Day, visit makeadifferenceday.com.
As previously reported, AEP experienced problems in printing and distributing 2016 benefit enrollment packets for retirees. Because of this delay, AEP has decided to extend the enrollment period for under-age 65 retirees who currently have AEP medical coverage but were not able to make an active enrollment election before the November 19 deadline and otherwise would have been defaulted into the HSA Basic Plan.
If you are an under-age 65 retiree and were not able to make an enrollment election in a timely fashion, you will now have until 5 p.m. EST Wednesday, November 25, to enroll by telephone at 1-888-237-2363, or until 11:59 p.m. EST Saturday, November 28, to enroll online at www.ibenefitcenter.com/aep. The period to enroll by telephone is shorter because AEP Benefit Center offices will be closed on November 26 and 27 for the Thanksgiving Holiday and are not open on the weekends.
As a reminder, pre-65 retirees can visit AEP’s new medical plan information website, the AEP HealthHUB, where you will find tools like ALEX the Benefits Counselor and other resources to help educate you about these changes and help you to choose the plan that best fits your needs (including complete details of all the medical plan options, enrollment guides, and summary of benefit coverage documents). Please note that the AEP HealthHUB also includes the pre-65 retiree enrollment guide, which can be found here.
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 from Vivian Andrews, a retiree from Southwestern Electric Power Company.
Where I was
I have been overweight most of my life. I have tried every fad diet and commercial weight-loss program available through the years. What I found that works is eating right, in moderation and getting plenty of exercise. I have lost hundreds of pounds, but would gain most of them back.
My turning point
When I retired from AEP Southwestern Electric Power Company in August 2010 after over 36 years of service, I had already begun my journey of losing weight for the last time! Through the efforts of a member of my church, a TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) chapter was organized and I began attending the meetings. The weekly weigh-ins — the accountability — helped me continue to lose the weight.
In April 2011, I became the leader of the group. So as leader, the pressure was on! It was my responsibility that all weekly programs, support, caring and information presented would foster healthy eating habits and exercise. And as leader, I needed to ‘walk the talk.’
It’s been more than five years and it is a slow process. Eating three meals a day and snacks, exercise — including going to the gym three days a week and drinking plenty of water each day has not only help me lose the weight, but has made me feel better than I have ever felt in my life! I walk on an average of 10,000 steps a day.
Paying it forward
Currently I have lost 107 pounds from my top weight and will continue this wonderful journey until I reach my goal. Another goal is to continue to spread the story of TOPS to everyone that I meet so they can enjoy the camaraderie, support, fellowship and the love that TOPS affords to its members.
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. If you have a story you would like to share, please send an email to email@example.com.
AEP River Operations
Robert Byrd, 75, AEP River Operations-Cape Girardeau, died Oct. 18.
AEP Service Corporation
James Beehler, 92, retired, AEP Headquarters, died Sept. 25.
William Herman, 97, retired, Rockefeller Center, died Sept. 27.
Doug McQueen, 70, AEP Headquarters, died Sept. 8.
Mark Morss, 68, Arena Building, died Sept. 5.
Ralph Snyder, 87, retired, AEP Headquarters, died Aug. 31.
Ronald Williams, 72, CSW Center, died July 5.
Appalachian Power Company
Dennis Bordwine, 85, retired, Clinch River Plant, died Oct. 20.
George Briers Jr., 90, retired, Clinch River Plant, died Sept. 28.
Jean Bublitz, 78, retired, Roanoke Main Office, died Aug. 26.
Earnest Clay, 94, retired, Kingsport Service Center, died Oct. 19.
Elton Clevenger, 89, retired, Sporn Plant, died Oct. 18.
Chester Elkins, 87, retired, Logan Service Center, died Oct. 10.
Judy Hodge, 70, retired, Amos Plant, died Nov. 4.
Louis Hogan, 90, retired, Roanoke Service Building, died Oct. 4.
Paul Johnson Jr., 71, Central Machine Shop, died Oct. 21.
Roger Law, 74, retired, Roanoke Main Office, died Sept. 9.
George Linger Jr., 87, retired, Kanawha River Plant, died Oct. 7.
Jane Little, 62, retired, Sporn Plant, died Sept. 14.
Darrell Lovell, 62, Beckley Service Center, died Oct. 2.
Carl Mooney, 95, retired, Kanawha River Plant, died Sept. 3.
Charles Morgan, 75, retired, Amos Plant, died Aug. 30.
Felix Porter, 83, retired, North Charleston Service Center, died Oct. 28.
Robert Roach, 81, retired, Mountaineer Plant, died Aug. 30.
Earl Shaver Jr., 84, retired, Charleston Office, died Sept. 4.
Chester Smith, 87, retired, Bluefield Office, died Oct. 1.
Dayton Spencer, 86, retired, Mountaineer Plant, died Sept. 7.
Ronald Tucker, 82, retired, Lynchburg Office, died Oct. 2.
Nathan Via, 69, retired, Pearisburg Service Center, died Oct. 22.
Thomas Whittington, 82, retired, North Charleston Service Center, died Oct. 10.
Jewell Woolridge, 87, retired, Roanoke Main Office, died Oct. 11.
Columbus Southern Power Company
Roger Beougher, 76, retired, Columbus Southeast Service Center, died Sept. 27.
David Bond, 67, Columbia Center Transmission Service Center, died Sept. 20.
Gordon Bourgeois, 83, retired, 850 Tech Center, died June 25.
Richard Burgert, 86, retired, 850 Tech Center, died Sept. 12.
Ervil Chrysler, 79, retired, Columbus Southeast Service Center, died Oct. 29.
Donald Gulley, 92, retired, Conesville Plant, died Oct. 6.
Martha Hiles, 86, retired, Chillicothe Office, died Sept. 16.
Larry McDermitt, 75, Columbus Northwest Service Center, died Sept. 8.
James Ogden, 80, retired, 850 Tech Center, died Aug. 24.
Ronald Saffield, 77, retired, Columbia Center Transmission Service Center, died Sept. 5.
Samuel Smith, 91, retired, Conesville Plant, died Sept. 10.
Richard Speer, 65, 850 Tech Center, died Oct. 25.
K. Weaver, 89, retired, Athens Service Center, died Oct. 22.
Steven Westling, 52, Columbus Southeast Service Center, died Oct. 24.
Indiana Michigan Power
Hugh Arnold, 70, retired, Rockport Plant, died Sept. 23.
James Baity, 86, retired, St. Joseph Service Center, died Sept. 4.
Joseph Barta Jr., 88, retired, One Summit Square, died Sept. 24.
Frances Bass, 80, retired, St. Joseph Service Center, died Oct. 23.
Joseph Berchin Jr., 73, retired, St. Joseph Service Center, died Sept. 4.
Jerry Buckingham, 75, retired, Tanners Creek Plant, died Oct. 31.
Marian Carter, 88, retired, South Bend Service Center, died Aug. 19.
Kevin Hardke, 65, Cook Nuclear Plant, died Sept. 20.
Donald Hobkirk, 95, Jackson Road Transmission Headquarters, died Sept. 26.
Arthur Hohl, 81, retired, One Summit Square, died Sept. 27.
Betty Jones, 78, retired, One Summit Square, died Oct. 14.
John Mahler, 80, retired, Tanners Creek Plant, died Sept. 10.
Kenneth Miller, 85, retired, Cook Nuclear Plant, died Oct. 8.
David Switzer, 68, South Bend Service Center, died Sept. 7.
Richard Walkden, 68, South Bend Service Center, died Oct. 13.
William Wallace, 72, retired, One Summit Square, died June 11.
Ohio Power Company
Thomas Bassitt, 72, Lancaster Substation Building, died Oct. 21.
Herbert Breeden, 78, retired, Wheeling Service Center, died Oct. 3.
Donald Brown, 75, retired, Canton Computer Center, died Oct. 27.
Elmer Cornelius, 68, Cardinal Plant, died Oct. 18.
Sara Eddins, 86, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died Sept. 23.
Patricia Graham, 77, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died Aug. 27.
Travis Headen, 80, retired, Cardinal Plant, died Sept. 16.
Lee Kelvington, 85, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died Oct. 7.
Danny Lawson, 73, retired, Lancaster Service Building, died Sept. 15.
Arthur Lude, 65, Mitchell Plant, died Sept. 7.
Judy Marshall, 94, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died Sept. 6.
Dean Mincks, 82, retired, Muskingum River Plant, died Sept. 19.
Carl Sites, 83, retired, Portsmouth Service Center, died Sept. 4.
Frank Sisson, 79, retired, Southern Ohio Coal Company, died Sept. 22.
Ivan Tucker, 99, retired, Central Ohio Coal Company, died Aug. 7.
Leroy Williams, 83, retired, Conesville Plant, died Sept. 6.
Public Service Company of Oklahoma
H.L. Armstrong, 87, retired, Tulsa General Office, died Sept. 13.
Audrey Bruster, 80, retired, Tulsa General Office, died Oct. 4.
Dexter Stone, 74, retired, Tulsa General Office, died Oct. 31.
Southwestern Electric Power Company
L.E. Hollingsworth, 78, retired, Welsh Plant, died Sept. 19.
Tommy Holmes, 69, Greenwood Service Center, died Oct. 14.
Jerry Martin, 83, retired, Shreveport General Office, died Sept. 21.
Maurice Mask, 75, retired, Mt. Pleasant Service Center, died Sept. 24.
Shirley McRobie, 79, retired, Shreveport General Office, died Sept. 22.
Palmer Morehead, 91, retired, Shreveport General Office, died Oct. 30.
Timothy Scales, 60, Shreveport General Office, died Sept. 2.
Willie Smith, 95, retired, Shreveport General Office, died Sept. 23.
Robert Brecount, 90, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died Sept. 19.
H.G. Davis, 81, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died Oct. 23.
William Fisher, 67, Western Division Office, died Oct. 26.
Celia Garcia, 86, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died Oct. 6.
Asencion Gonzalez, 94, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died Sept. 27.
Tomas Hernandez, 86, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died Oct. 24.
Donald Lawrence, 84, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died Sept. 20.
Alberto Martinez, 76, retired, Laredo Power Station, died Oct. 22.
Oralia Parker, 76, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died Sept. 17.
Joseph Rovira, 79, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died Aug. 11.
Juan Santos, 85, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died Sept. 15.
Joseph Stavnicky, 72, Joslin Power Station, died Oct. 2.
Wilburn Thompson, 86, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died Oct. 24.
Mollie Lee, 75, retired, Clyde Office, died Oct. 1.
W.G. Smart, 66, Rio Pecos Power Plant, died Sept. 25.
Terry Dresbach, Chillicothe Service Center, retired Oct. 31 after 17 years of service.
AEP River Operations
Richard Brown, AEP River Operations, retired Oct. 30 after 17 years of service.
William Hayes Jr., River Transportation Division, retired Sept. 1 after 39 years of service.
Debra Wallace, AEP River Operations-Paducah, retired Oct. 2 after 15 years of service.
AEP Service Corporation
George Aria, AEP Headquarters, retired Oct. 31 after 15 years of service.
Kathy Charles, Central Operations Center, retired Oct. 31 after 21 years of service.
Jeffrey Cross, AEP Headquarters, retired Oct. 31 after 31 years of service.
Kenneth Frazier, AEP Headquarters, retired Oct. 31 after 41 years of service.
Randall Martin, AEP Headquarters, retired Oct. 3 after 15 years of service.
Jeffrey Masteller, AEP Headquarters, retired Oct. 24 after 10 years of service.
Bruce Reinmann, AEP Headquarters, retired Oct. 31 after 10 years of service.
Robin Snyder, AEP Headquarters, retired Oct. 10 after 33 years of service.
Dennis Welch, AEP Headquarters, retired Sept. 1 after 10 years of service.
Chyi-Liing Yang, AEP Headquarters, retired Sept. 1 after 28 years of service.
Pokin Chan, Pharr North Service Center, retired Sept. 1 after 16 years of service.
Johnny Degasperi, Longview Operations, retired Oct. 31 after 20 years of service.
Robert Lager, T&D Operations-Abilene, retired Oct. 17 after 36 years of service.
Joe Ramos, Abilene Distribution, retired Sept. 12 after 34 years of service.
Billy Habel, Lovingston Service Center, retired Oct. 1 after 36 years of service.
Rosemary Perry, Hurricane Customer Operations Center, retired Oct. 31 after 16 years of service.
Jack Preece, Huntington Service Center, retired Sept. 9 after 35 years of service.
James Alley, Gavin Plant, retired Sept. 1 after 36 years of service.
Larry Blanchard, Mitchell Plant, retired Sept. 20 after 10 years of service.
Michael Cappel, Conesville Plant, retired Oct. 1 after 35 years of service.
Steven Copeland, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired Sept. 9 after 33 years of service.
Michael Dichazi Jr., Cardinal Plant, retired Oct. 31 after 37 years of service.
Brian Justice, Racine Hydro, retired Sept. 25 after 39 years of service.
Robert Kramer Jr., Mitchell Plant, retired Oct. 27 after 38 years of service.
Alan Lawson, Northeastern Station 3&4, retired Sept. 19 after 37 years of service.
Robert Meyer, Cardinal Plant, retired Sept. 1 after 27 years of service.
Richard Macomber, Gavin Plant, retired Sept. 1 after 38 years of service.
Donald Martin, Gavin Plant, retired Sept. 1 after 37 years of service.
Ricky Pierpoint, Cardinal Plant, retired Oct. 31 after 38 years of service.
Barry Proctor, Amos Plant, retired Sept. 1 after 31 years of service.
William Sayre, Amos Plant, retired Oct. 1 after 41 years of service.
David Shepler, Conesville Plant, retired Sept. 12 after 42 years of service.
Frederick Wheeler, Gavin Plant, retired Oct. 3 after 22 years of service.
Indiana Michigan Power
Louise Dewitte, South Bend Service Center, retired Sept. 12 after 26 years of service.
Hamid Heidarisafa, Buchanan Nuclear Generation Office, retired Sept. 17 after 16 years of service.
Denise McQuillan, One Summit Square, retired Oct. 30 after 19 years of service.
Forrest Minix, Elkhart Service Center, retired Sept. 26 after 42 years of service.
James Linkous, Robert E. Matthews Service Center, retired Oct. 1 after 37 years of service.
Public Service Company of Oklahoma
Edward Boyd, Vinita Service Center, retired Oct. 1 after 46 years of service.
Frances Burdex, Tulsa General Office, retired Oct. 1 after 10 years of service.
David Durler, Tulsa General Office, retired Oct. 10 after 30 years of service.
Clifford Garrison, AEP/PSO-Dakota Room, retired Oct. 13 after 38 years of service.
Tom Norton, Tulsa General Office, retired Oct. 1 after 37 years of service.
Cheryl Skaggs, Tulsa General Office, retired Oct. 14 after 11 years of service.
Southwestern Electric Power
John Brice, Longview Operations, retired Oct. 21 after 23 years of service.
George Pistolis, Texarkana Operations, retired Oct. 29 after 33 years of service.
Lawrence Bak, Spy Run Service Center, retired Sept. 1 after 41 years of service.
Rudolph Caciano, Spy Run Service Center, retired Sept. 1 after 42 years of service.
Michael Choinacky, South Bend Service Center, retired Oct. 30 after 42 years of service.
Brett Madison, Tulsa General Office, retired Oct. 14 after 36 years of service.
Jack Potts, Spy Run Service Center, retired Sept. 9 after 29 years of service.
Marcus Schlegel, Tulsa General Office, retired Sept. 3 after 21 years of service.
James Wright Jr., Tulsa General Office, retired Oct. 24 after 11 years of service.
|Ray Kackley (center), Manager, AEP National Accounts, displays AEP’s National Key Accounts Program Award. Looking on from far left are: Scott Mann, National Account Executive; Darren Kelsey, National Account Executive; Jeff Bowen, Director of Technical Operations – Dillard’s Inc.; Bob Valair, Director Energy & Environmental Services – Staples, Inc.; Bud Clark, National Account Executive; and Barry Mosser, National Account Executive.|
AEP earned a National Key Accounts Program Award and Barry Mosser, an AEP national account executive based in Huntington, W.Va., was recognized with a National Key Accounts Executive Award Oct. 24 during the Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI) fall National Key Accounts Workshop in Dallas. The awards recognize EEI member companies and National Key Accounts executives for providing superior service to national key account customers.
Votes were cast by EEI National Key Accounts customers, representing a wide variety of industries, including national brands such as Kroger, Costco, HealthSouth, Marriot Hotels, Staples, TJX Companies, and Walmart.
“Building and maintaining close relationships with customers are critically important for utilities today as customers’ needs are evolving faster than ever,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “This year’s award recipients are leading the way by providing exceptional customer service, as well as products and services that are helping to make their customers more efficient and more productive.”
The Awards for Outstanding National Key Accounts Customer Service were established by the Customer Advisory Group, a group of 22 national chain customers that provide feedback, guidance, and support to EEI’s National Key Accounts program. EEI’s National Key Accounts is a customer-oriented program where leading multi-site customers and electric utility account representatives collaborate to develop efficient energy management strategies that can be integrated into facilities nationwide.
“This recognition demonstrates that the National Account team is ‘walking the walk’ and ‘talking the talk’ when it comes to AEP’s customer focus goal,” said Nick Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Our customers are the backbone of our business, so recognition from them is the highest compliment. To win these awards year-after-year proves that this team and our operating units are dedicated and committed to providing a level of service that is above customer expectations.”
“The EEI Outstanding National Key Accounts Customer Service Awards reflect the value that the recipients bring to their multi-site customers,” said Art Justice, Vice President of Energy and Sustainability at Cinemark, which is part of the Customer Advisory Group. “These companies and individuals go above and beyond, making the customer experience easier and more productive. They truly set the benchmark for strong utility-customer partnerships that should inspire all utilities.”
Do you have questions about health savings accounts (HSA), health reimbursement accounts (HRA) and flexible spending accounts (FSA) as part of AEP’s medical plan options? If so, you can register for a newly developed live webinar at 11 a.m. Eastern Time (10 a.m. Central Time) on Monday, November 9.
The one-hour webinar will include a short presentation to review the 2016 medical plan options and how the health accounts work within the plans, with most of the time allotted for questions and answers. Human Resources and Anthem have developed this special session in response to numerous questions from employees and pre-65 retirees during in-person medical plan information meetings.
Webinar participants will be able to email questions starting about five minutes before and during the live event.
Use this link to register for the webinar (no password is required). To access an archived (on-demand) version of the webinar, use this same link, after the event has occurred.
Participants will receive an email reminder with a link on the day of the webinar.
More live and on-demand webinars and other tools and resources to help you identify the right medical plan option can be found at AEP HealthHUB.
Every retiree (and employee) will be receiving a printed Benefit Enrollment Guide; however, AEP has experienced problems in printing and distributing these hard copy materials.
Current projections are that retirees will receive Benefit Enrollment Guides via mail between Thursday, November 5, and Thursday, November 12, depending on your proximity to the distribution center. These same materials, including your personalized enrollment worksheet (PEW), are already available online at www.ibenefitcenter.com/aep.
To view your online enrollment guide: after logging on to the AEP Benefits Center, choose “Plan Information” from within the “Resource Center” tab (top right for most PCs), then select the “Health” tab from the middle of the screen below the “Plan Information” title.
To view your personalized enrollment worksheet (PEW), including the plan premiums / rates applicable to you: after logging on to the AEP Benefits Center, choose “Communication History” from within the “Forms” tab (near top of webpage). Here you can see and print the personalized mailings sent to your address. Please note that your personalized rates can also be viewed as part of the enrollment process, which is launched by selecting “Enroll Now” from the Benefits Center homepage.
For retirees under the age of 65 (and your eligible dependents, regardless of age):
Medical benefits are changing for 2016 and every pre-65 retiree currently enrolled in an AEP medical plan must re-elect plan coverage. If you are currently enrolled in an AEP medical plan and do not make a plan enrollment election, you will be automatically enrolled in the HSA Basic plan at your current level of coverage.
Pre-65 retirees, please visit AEP’s new medical plan information website, the AEP HealthHUB, where you will find tools like ALEX the Benefits Counselor and other resources to help educate you about these changes and help you to choose the plan that best fits your needs (including complete details of all the medical plan options, enrollment guides, and summary of benefit coverage documents). Please note that the AEP HealthHUB also includes the pre-65 retiree enrollment guide, which can be found here.
For retirees over the age of 65 (and your eligible dependents, regardless of age):
Your AEP medical benefit offerings are consistent with prior years, as is the enrollment process. There is no active enrollment requirement for retirees over the age of 65 (and their dependents). For those wishing to continue their current medical plan coverage, there is no action required. If you wish to make changes to any other benefit plan offerings, you can do so by visiting the AEP Benefits Center website. You may view the over-65 retiree enrollment guide at the AEP Benefits Center website.
Both the pre-65 and over-65 enrollment guides are also available on the AEP Retirees & Alumni website under the Benefits tab.
PLEASE NOTE . . .
There are two options to use to access rate and premium information at the AEP Benefits Center website (https://www.ibenefitcenter.com/aep):
- From the home page, click on the “Forms” tab in the top page index, then “Communication History.” Your personalized enrollment worksheet (PEW) will be one of the forms listed that you can then select to view. Note: This document is several pages long, so please print the entire document or scroll through to later pages (using the scroll bar nearest the right edge of the document), where you will find your personal rate information.
- From the home page, click on the button labeled “Enroll Now” under “myHealth.” You must answer several required questions, then you will see a page named “My Benefit Election Summary.” Scroll down to “My Benefits” and click on “Change” at left of the Medical benefit line. Your 2016 medical plan options, including rate and premium information, will appear on the next page, titled “Choose My Medical Benefits.” You can then review this information without making an actual selection. Even if you do choose a medical plan option, you may re-enter the site and change options through the end of the Annual Enrollment period.
Nick Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer, discussed the economy across the company’s service territory, the continued push against coal and for renewables and more Oct. 22 during a segment of CNBC-TV’s “Mad Money w/Jim Cramer”program.
Cramer noted that in its quarterly earnings report, AEP reported growth in virtually all 11 of its states, including Texas where shale gas and oil-drilling activities should be pulling back due to a current glut in supplies.
|AEP CEO Nick Akins appeared on CNBC-TV’s “Mad Money w/Jim Cramer” program Oct. 22.|
“We’re seeing electric load pick up because of the shale gas activity,” Akins said. “Those counties are still growing at 10 percent, so it’s working out great for us.” He also noted that for the first time in a long time, AEP’s eastern service territory grew even more than the company’s western service territory. “That’s really driven by the jobs and the new economy,” he said, “not only chemical manufacturing, but auto manufacturing growth continues to occur, as well.”
Cramer also noted that he recently spoke to Dow Chemical, and they said they are planning on possibly building over 400 new plants across the region.
“If there are exports and those kinds of things that drive that kind of economy, we’ll continue to see petroleum and other types of activities pick up, as well,” Akins said. “From a chemical manufacturing standpoint, those continue to do well. We’re still seeing siting of new facilities, so if that continues, we’ll see an energy renaissance and a manufacturing renaissance to boot.”
As the country continues to move away from coal-fired generation and toward natural gas, Cramer wondered if the infrastructure is there to build new gas plants.
“I think the infrastructure does need to get built out,” Akins answered. “In fact, as we make a transition from coal-fired facilities that are being retired, the fuel of choice will be natural gas and renewables like wind and solar. So if you depend upon natural gas in the heat of the summer or the cold of the winter, you’ve got to make sure those resources are there, and the pipeline infrastructure needs to be present.”
Concerning the move against fossil fuels, Cramer asked, “Can you please explain to the American people that you can’t use solar and wind as a baseline fuel in this country?”
“Both of those supplies are intermittent supplies. In other words, when the sun’s out, you get power and energy, but when it’s dark, you don’t. When the wind is blowing, you get energy, but when it’s not blowing, you don’t. That’s why you need to have baseload fossil fuel capacity 24/7 to back it up,” Akins explained. “The customer decides when they want to turn their light switch on at any part of the day, run their washers, dryers and so forth, and you’ve got to make sure you are able to satisfy the demand. You also have to be able to satisfy those areas where you need motor load, like air conditioning and that sort of thing, and solar and wind won’t supply that.”
The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) recently paid tribute to the legacies FAO honors and the opportunities they create. The Foundation’s mission – to create opportunities for Appalachian Ohio’s citizens and communities by inspiring and supporting philanthropy – would not be possible without the people and the legacies that FAO funds honor and the opportunities made possible by those funds. This work would not be possible without dedicated volunteers. This year, the Foundation celebrated its 2015 Outstanding Volunteer, Mary K. Walsh.
“We are so lucky to have someone like Mary K. who is so willing to give of her time and talents in service to the Foundation,” said Cara Dingus Brook, president and CEO of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio. “Mary K. has given so much to our Foundation through her time on our scholarship committee and her vision for sharing our mission through the windows of our historic building on the square. She is a true testament to the difference one individual can make.”
A Nelsonville native and a graduate of the former Nelsonville High School, Walsh worked at the Columbus & Southern Ohio Electric Company and AEP for 42 years and retired in 2013 with the title of Community Relations Manager in Corporate Communications. She received the 2015 Outstanding Volunteer award for her assistance on the scholarship committee reviewing applications from talented students throughout the region as well as her efforts to beautify the FAO offices. She spearheaded FAO’s window displays in the former Peoples Bank building on Nelsonville’s Public Square. She installed seating and lighting reminiscent of the building’s former purpose, harkening back to when it was first built. She also installed spotlights on major first floor landmarks, including the bank vault door, a highlight for all who visit the Foundation’s offices.
During the holiday season, to coincide with North Pole Nelsonville, an annual holiday celebration on the square, Walsh and longtime friend Karen Pidock installed vintage toy displays and other holiday-themed décor to delight and garner the attention of passersby.
“Though I spent much of my adult life in Columbus, my heart never left Nelsonville and Appalachian Ohio,” said Walsh. “I am so grateful for the opportunity the Foundation has presented me to further develop the Public Square and expose others from throughout the state to all the region has to offer.”
Reflecting Walsh’s service on the Foundation’s scholarship committee, two scholarship recipients, John Barba II and Ruby Williams spoke about the impact of the scholarships they received from the Foundation. Both noted how the scholarships they received from the Foundation and those who established them made their pursuit of higher education possible and how it pushes them to pay it forward in the region they call home.
For more information about how you can volunteer with the Foundation, please visit http://www.AppalachianOhio.org or call 740-753-1111.