As a company, AEP “likes” the major growth it continues to see in its social media channels.
AEP’s main social media channels are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and the year-over-year statistics show that customers, fans and other individuals are increasingly finding those channels valuable.
For example, AEP added 15,537 fans of its Facebook pages (AEP and each of its operating companies have Facebook pages) during 2014, increasing its total fans to 61,530. Of the seven operating companies, AEP Ohio gained the most fans (2,841), followed by Appalachian Power (2,305), Southwestern Electric Power Company (1,098), Indiana Michigan Power Company (895), Public Service Company of Oklahoma (784), Kentucky Power (438) and AEP Texas (309).
On Twitter, AEP gained over 7,000 new followers on its Twitter handles during the past year, and the company now has 29,196 total followers. AEP Ohio again led the way among the operating companies with 1,433 new followers, while Appalachian Power followed close behind with 1,100.
In addition, AEP’s corporate page on LinkedIn grew by 6,111 followers and now has over 21,000 followers.
A list of all of AEP’s social media channels can be found on AEP’s website.
“In the past, when our customers needed information, they had to rely on newspapers and local television stations to inform them,” said Josh Polk, AEP social media manager. “Now they can get the message directly from us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. They can ask questions and even share the information with their circle of online friends.
“When your power is out, the easiest thing to do is check Facebook or Twitter on your phone for information,” Polk added. “Social media allows better communication with customers and the ability to be proactive in addressing customer service issues.”
In 2014, AEP started posting safety tips on Facebook and Twitter every Saturday with the hashtag #SafetySaturday. Polk said AEP also offers weekly energy efficiency tips, company news, community involvment (Habitat for Humanity, local 5k race listings, holiday parade information, reading to students, etc.), historical photos, job openings and much more.
“We also try to answer anyone who posts a question on our Facebook pages or to our Twitter accounts,” said Polk. “We see it as an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive. When we have extended outages or a significant number of customers out of power due to a storm, we have our most traffic and gain the most followers/fans.
“We try to be very proactive in communicating outage information, estimated restoration times and providing safety tips.”
Polk said AEP’s social media efforts mainly focus on the following opportunities:
- Communicating about outages;
- Educating about energy efficiency;
- Improving employee understanding;
- Assisting customers online;
- Sharing AEP’s community involvement;
- Communicating about innovation and the environment;
- Engaging policymakers;
- Communicating during a crisis;
- Attracting new employees; and
- Educating the public about rate cases.
For its efforts, AEP once again was ranked among the top 10 utilities nationwide in its innovative use of social media by E Source, an energy-focused marketing and research consulting firm.
E Source surveyed 57 utilities to discover the latest trends and best practices in utility social media use. Utilities that participated in the Social Media Survey 2014 were asked to identify which utilities they consider to be industry leaders in social media. AEP was ranked eighth overall.
Nick Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer, fielded questions about a wide variety of industry and strategic topics Jan. 14 in Columbus as part of the “Fueling Ohio’s Future” luncheon series sponsored by the Columbus Metropolitan Club and AEP. The moderator of the question and answer session was Tom Knox, a reporter for Columbus Business First newspaper.
Knox: You’ve not been shy about voicing concerns about brownouts or other issues from retiring coal-fired generation the next couple of years. A lot of your opponents think AEP is just crying wolf. Can you address that and explain why you think there will be issues with reliability?
Akins: Two years ago when the (U.S.) EPA went down the road that required the retirement of a large amount of generation in this country, the question became, “Is it being done too quickly?” Two years ago, we (AEP) were the first out of the blocks saying there was going to be an issue with the grid itself, particularly in times like we had last winter with the polar vortex. That generation is depended upon to run 24/7 and is a critical component of keeping the grid as reliable as it is. Fast forward to today, and the regional transmission organization (RTO) is asking units if they can run longer because they see issues coming up, particularly in the summer and winter next year. We’re retiring about 6,000 megawatts of coal-fired capacity in May of 2015. Overall, the country is retiring about 25 percent of its coal-fired generation. You can’t retire that much generation that quickly and not have impacts on the system. It takes years to put transmission facilities into place. It takes years to get through the regulatory processes of the state jurisdictions to get approvals to build (generation).
Then you add the Clean Power Plan, which has very aggressive timelines for compliance. There are 2020 targets for reductions of CO2 emissions and there are 2030 targets for reductions. Our big issue, as well as that of the industry and 26 states, is that we don’t have time to meet the 2020 targets, and that will force more retirements in generation. In fact, our studies show that the utility system will not be able to operate. That’s a very hard thing to say because we have had a reliable grid for decades and decades, and the American economy is built on the ability to flip the light switch and the power and energy is there. That is at risk.
Knox: One of the bigger stories in energy (in Ohio) last year was the passage of Senate Bill 310, which put the freeze for two years on the state’s renewable standards. American Electric Power was one of the bigger vocal supporters of that bill. Why did AEP support that bill?
Akins: We have pretty substantial energy efficiency programs that we’ve been working through, and we’ve worked very positively on them with the commissioners and our customers. We would like to continue that, but the real issue is, “How do you evaluate the cost of energy efficiency components relative to other resources?” What we were really arguing was for the commission (Public Utilities Commission of Ohio) to determine the right approach. I don’t mean to be pejorative here, but we have a lot of states and a lot of legislators during election season that like to outdo each other. If one state comes up with 25 percent (renewables), then another state’s going to be 30 (percent), and now you have California that wants to go to 50 (percent). There’s a limitation to renewables and there’s a limitation to energy efficiency. It has to be a balanced energy approach that includes energy efficiency and renewables, but also recognizes the value of the other resources that are being brought to the table, and the commission is in the best place to be able to evaluate those issues. So, yes, we were supportive of it but I don’t think we were the lead company. At the same time, we want to make sure there is adequate analysis and review so we are making wise decisions.
Knox: How does AEP as a giant company co-exist with incoming renewables and alternative forms of energy?
Akins: There’s an assumption out there that utilities aren’t doing anything on renewables when, in fact, utilities are building more renewables than anyone else. AEP has 2,000 megawatts of renewables, and we provide the Purchase Power Agreements (PPA) to make those renewables possible. We are not the developer of them — we actually outsource to contractors and others to build the facilities — but we have the Purchase Power Agreements that allow them to go to the banks and get the financing for these projects. We also have a PPA for centralized solar at one facility in Ohio, and another in our Indiana-Michigan territory. We are very focused on the transformation that needs to occur (in the utility industry) but there must be some sense of balance associated with it.
Knox: Oil and gas drilling has helped the eastern part of the state, and it’s helped with gasoline prices for everyone. Can you talk specifically about the impacts of shale gas on AEP? How is that going to change American Electric Power in the coming years?
Akins: Historically, the reason AEP was predominantly coal-fired in the eastern part of its service territory — its Midwestern states — was because natural gas wasn’t very prevalent. All of a sudden, we have major pipeline capacity coming in from different parts of the country, and then we have the shale gas revolution that enabled natural gas to be prevalent in this part of the country. It became a bonafide resource that we can start to transition to, and we have added about 5,000 megawatts of generation assets and put that natural-gas-fired capacity in place over the last decade, and it’s running today. We started that transformation and it enabled us to continue to retire coal-fired units and put natural gas facilities in place.
Today, you have a lot of natural gas that’s available at very cheap prices. The question is, can you depend upon it 24/7 because the pipeline system has not caught up with the shale gas activity. It’s important for us to get the infrastructure in place so it becomes a substantial resource for us in the future as we make the transition from coal to other resources. It’s a positive for Ohio and, in my opinion, one of the travesties is that we haven’t been able to take advantage of it. If there were adequate price signals to build new capacity here in Ohio, more generation would get built here, but that’s not happening. Ohio is sitting like the hole in the middle of a doughnut. Other states around us are primarily regulated, they have integrated resource plans, they know what they are going to invest in, they have the price signals through regulations to tell them what they can build, but that doesn’t exist here in Ohio, and that’s unfortunate because the Utica Shale is significant for Ohio like the Eagle Ford Shale has been for Texas in terms of economic and industrial growth.
Knox: Talking about deregulation, I know you have various issues with it here in Ohio, and Ohio is one of your bigger sources of revenue. How do you operate in that this is your home state but you prefer to operate in a regulated market?
Akins: An unregulated market can work if you have the proper construct in place to support it, and that doesn’t exist (in Ohio). That doesn’t mean it won’t exist at some point, but it doesn’t exist today. We continue to invest heavily in our transmission and distribution here in Ohio, and I think it’s important for us to continue to focus on that infrastructure development and the customer experience. Not spending on generation in Ohio is a problem for the future, and it’s something we’re trying to fix, but there are challenges with that effort. We do not have enough capacity in the state of Ohio to serve AEP’s load, and that’s not a good place to be. That means you’re importing energy from states around you. That’s something that needs to be fixed. If we were still in a regulated market here, we would be investing in natural gas, but that’s not the case.
Knox: What’s the biggest issue for AEP in 2015?
Akins: The biggest issues for AEP in Ohio are our purchase power arrangement and the disposition of our competitive generation. Those are the two key issues, and we need policy direction from Ohio to understand which direction we’re going to go. It’s very important for us to know how to invest, particularly in the generation part in Ohio. Transmission and distribution will continue to flourish in Ohio. Ohio is a big part of AEP, and AEP will continue to be a big part of Ohio.
(Story by Larry Jones)
AEP Texas has announced a three-year contribution totaling $54,000 to help fund an initiative to revise and update the Wildlife in Focus Kritters 4 Kids wildlife education program. The first installment was awarded to the group prior to the end of 2014.
The funding from AEP Texas will help take the Kritters 4 Kids Education Program to a new level well beyond its current capabilities. This initiative, entitled Kritters 4 Kids — The Next Generation, envisions upgrading the current education program and bringing it into the digital era. This goal will be achieved through the completion of the following action steps:
- Update the current curriculum topics and subject matter to ensure the program continues to support existing science and other scholastic programs and provides support for the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test.
- Expand the curriculum to incorporate an arts component to support the move from Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM).
- Submit the newly expanded program for review and certification by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), as well as other agencies identified by the Wildlife in Focus Board of Directors.
- Incorporate a digital version of all materials, including PowerPoint presentations, videos and Adobe PDF handouts for classroom use. These digital materials and presentations will be used in conjunction with a set of the most recent Wildlife in Focus photo books.
- Expand upon the “Get Art Centered on Wildlife in Focus” partnership with the Art Center of Corpus Christi to continue promotion of the Kritters 4 Kids program during the development process via the sponsorship of targeted events.
Additionally, AEP Texas will provide in-kind and financial sponsorship of the production of materials necessary to introduce the new education program. This support will include video production and development of PowerPoint and other supporting materials under the direction of the Education Coordinator and team of education advisors.
Julio Reyes, AEP Texas vice president of External Affairs, said that AEP Texas has helped sponsor several events in the past and has sponsored the Kritters 4 Kids programs in several schools within its service territory and sponsored advertising in the photo books that are produced following each of the nature photo contests. He also noted that AEP Texas employee Larry Jones has served as a volunteer and board member over the past few years.
“I’ve watched this group grow and sharpen its focus over the past few years,” Reyes said. “In fact, my wife, Mary, served on the board of directors for a few years. I’ve always been impressed that Wildlife in Focus was the only nature photography initiative in our service territory boasting an organized education program in the school system. And I was impressed with how they have taken steps to ensure that remains their central focus.”
Story by Carmen Prati-Miller)
In its 20th year, the Oglebay Mini-Vacation Contest is sponsored through the generosity of retired Ohio Power Company T&D Director Lee Kelvington and his wife, Joan.
This year’s lucky contest winner is Ronnie Hubbard, John W. Turk Plant pumper. Hailing from Texarkana, Ark., Hubbard has nearly a thousand-mile journey to get to Wheeling, W. Va., but she is definitely up for it.
“I am so excited,” she said. “My thanks go out to Mr. and Mrs. Kelvington for the opportunity to experience Oglebay.”
Given availability of resort accommodations, Hubbard and a guest have the entire year to take advantage of the exciting getaway. Included in the vacation package are three days and two nights deluxe lodging and breakfast for two, an evening’s dinner for two at the Ihlenfeld dining room, as well as admission passes for boating, fishing, miniature golf, tennis and swimming.
(Story by Debra Pannell)
Central Machine Shop got its start at the John E. Amos Plant in 1974, soon after the plant’s two 800-megawatt units and its 1,300-megawatt Unit 3 were placed in service. By 1978, the shop had outgrown its space at Amos and moved to its current location in the South Charleston Industrial Park. Last month, employees and retirees gathered there to celebrate the shop’s 40th year of service.
CMS founder Harold Rulen, who came back for the anniversary celebration, explained how the shop came about. “Pretty much the only option we had when a turbine or generator part needed repair was to go to the manufacturer, which was sometimes a lengthy process and was always expensive,” he said.
A machinist who specialized in turbine and generator repair, Rulen provided AEP another option when he organized employees and equipment and set up a repair shop on Amos Plant property. “Once we had the expertise and equipment in place, we could do turbine and generator repair work much less expensively than if we sent it out,” said Rulen. “And when GE saw we could do our own work, they dropped their prices when bidding on repair work for us.” Over the course of its 40 years, CMS’ existence has provided AEP’s generating fleet a competitive advantage few other electric utilities enjoy.
Bryan Mabe, the shop’s current manager, cites a number of ways the shop contributes to the company’s bottom line. The most obvious is cost – even today there are only a handful of companies in the U.S. that can match CMS’ capabilities to repair the large, specialized parts found in generating units – and CMS’ costs compare quite favorably.
Perhaps as important, though, is time. Every hour a large generating unit is down for repair can translate into significant dollars in lost revenue. CMS can and does adjust its work schedule to accommodate AEP’s most pressing priorities. CMS also maintains spare parts, which can help get a generating unit back up and running while the damaged part is being repaired.
Finally, there’s quality. “CMS employees are also AEP employees, so we essentially have shareholders doing the work,” said Mabe. “When the owners are doing the work, they’re going to take extra care to do the job well.”
Mabe said production priorities shift as the complexion of AEP’s generating fleet changes. For instance, the shop is considering adding expertise around repairs for the company’s growing number of natural gas units.
CMS has also tapered its work force to match reduced repair needs at AEP’s smaller coal-fired units, which are set to close in 2015. But the one constant is the value proposition that has driven CMS since day one.
“We identify and focus on work where there is a high margin between CMS’s costs and those of its competitors,” said Mabe. “Doing that high margin differential work is where we bring value to AEP.”
If you’re in your mid-40s or so, your body has already probably alerted you to the fact that it’s not going to always feel like it did when you were younger. It’s a fact – our bodies were not made for wear and tear over an indefinite period of time.
The comedian Jack Benny once quipped, “I don’t deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don’t deserve that either.” Those who have “Old Arthur” can smile and understand.
Osteoarthritis affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time. Although it can damage any joint in your body, osteoarthritis most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips and spine.
The disorder gradually worsens, and no cure exists. But staying active, maintaining a healthy weight and other steps you can take may slow progression of the disease, help relieve pain and improve joint function.
Symptoms often develop slowly and worsen over time. They include:
- Pain. Your joint may hurt during or after movement.
- Tenderness. Your joint may feel tender when you apply light pressure to it.
- Stiffness. Joint stiffness may be most noticeable when you wake up in the morning or after a period of inactivity.
- Loss of flexibility. You may not be able to move your joint through its full range of motion.
- Grating sensation. You may hear or feel a grating sensation when you use the joint.
- Bone spurs. Extra bits of bone, which feel like hard lumps, may form around the affected joint.
Factors that may increase your risk of osteoarthritis include older age, sex (women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis), obesity, joint injuries, certain occupations that involve repetitive motions, genetics, bone deformities and having other diseases, such as diabetes or other rheumatic diseases such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis.
Exercising and achieving a healthy weight are the best and most important ways to treat osteoarthritis. Your doctor may also suggest physical therapy, occupational therapy, braces or shoe inserts, or a chronic pain management class.
Those who suffer from osteoarthritis have a lot of options in lifestyle changes and home treatments that can help reduce their symptoms:
- Exercise. Exercise can increase your endurance and strengthen the muscles around your joint, making your joint more stable. Try walking, biking or swimming. If you feel new joint pain, stop. New pain that lasts for hours after you exercise probably means you’ve overdone it, but it doesn’t mean you should stop exercising altogether.
- Lose weight. Even a small amount of weight loss can relieve some pressure and stress on your joints and reduce pain. Talk to your doctor about healthy ways to lose weight. Most people combine changes in their diet with increased exercise.
- Heat and cold. Both heat and cold can relieve pain in your joint. Heat also relieves stiffness, and cold can relieve muscle spasms and pain.
- Over-the-counter pain creams. Creams and gels available at pharmacies may provide temporary relief from osteoarthritis pain. Some of these numb the pain by creating a hot or cool sensation. Pain creams work best on joints that are close to the surface of your skin, such as knees and fingers.
- Assistive devices. A cane may take weight off your knee or hip as you walk. Carry the cane in the hand opposite the leg that hurts. Gripping or grabbing tools may make it easier to work in the kitchen if you have osteoarthritis in your fingers.
- Tai chi and yoga. These movement therapies involve gentle exercises and stretches combined with deep breathing. When led by a knowledgeable instructor, these therapies are safe. Avoid moves that cause pain in your joints.
Lifestyle changes and certain treatments are keys to managing pain and disability, but another major component to treatment is your own outlook on life. Your ability to cope despite pain and disability caused by osteoarthritis often determines how much of an impact “Old Arthur” will have on your everyday life. Talk to your doctor if you’re feeling frustrated – he or she may have ideas about how to cope or refer you to someone who can help.
AEP Service Corporation
Jorge Decastro-Palomino, 89, retired, Rockefeller Center, died Oct. 25.
Wilbur Moser, 88, retired, John E. Dolan Lab, died Nov. 3.
Marianna Muller, 103, retired, Rockefeller Center, died Oct. 27.
Louis Vanslyck, 82, retired, AEP Headquarters, died Oct. 15.
Franklin Coon, 67, retired, Conesville Plant, died Oct. 14.
Thomas Cox, 60, Kanawha River Plant, died Nov. 11.
Oscar Fowler Jr., 87, retired, Huntington Office, died Oct. 23.
Brian Halstead, 54, Mountaineer Plant, died Nov. 23.
Clarence Jones, 87, retired, Amos Plant, died Nov. 17.
John Moore, 72, retired, Abingdon Service Center, died Oct. 15.
John Orr, 90, retired, Abingdon Service Center, died Nov. 5.
Freddy Sisk, 60, Amos Plant, died Oct. 14.
Richard Wingate, 66, Woodlawn Service Center, died Oct. 11.
Columbus Southern Power
Daniel Conway, 62, retired, Athens Service Center, died Oct. 25.
Gary Jones, 59, 825 Tech Center Building, died Oct. 30.
Roy Pierce, 61, retired, Athens Service Center, died Oct. 29.
Frank Sugar Jr., 87, retired, 850 Tech Center Building, died Oct. 31.
Indiana Michigan Power
Vernon Eck, 83, retired, South Bend Service Center, died Nov. 5.
Phillip Ferencak, 76, retired, Tanners Creek Plant, died Nov. 22.
Joan Harsh, 73, retired, Cook Nuclear Plant, died Nov. 10.
James Martin, 79, retired, Spy Run Service Center, died Nov. 7.
William Pokorny, 81, retired, One Summit Square, died Oct. 12.
John Vanmeter, 72, Rockport Plant, died Nov. 2.
William Willer, 75, retired, Three Rivers Service Center, died Nov. 14.
Michael Spencer, 55, Kammer Plant, died Nov. 3.
George Bailey Jr., 72, Cardinal Plant, died Nov. 20.
Max Cooley, 91, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died Oct. 20.
George Johnson, 65, Gavin Plant, died Nov. 20.
Ned Lewton, 73, retired, Canton South Service Center, died Oct. 29.
Janet Loar, 89, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died Nov. 7.
Thomas Miller, 75 retired, Upper Sandusky Service Center, died Oct. 16.
Nacoleon Torrence, 85, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died Oct. 27.
Donald Wilhelm, 97, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died Nov. 6.
Public Service Company of Oklahoma
Joann Belusko, 84, retired, Tulsa General Office, died Oct. 24.
Pat Hamilton, 75, retired, Tulsa General Office, died Oct. 23.
John Lee, 77, retired, Tulsa General Office, died Oct. 13.
Joe Lowman, 86, retired, Tulsa General Office, died Nov. 6.
Lawrence Priest, 84, retired, Tulsa General Office, died Nov. 6.
Southwestern Electric Power
Nealy Surratt, 74, retired, Shreveport General Office, died Oct. 24.
Walter Alexander, 84, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died Nov. 6.
Charles Burleson, 82, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died Nov. 16.
Martin Contreras, 64, Pharr North Service Center, died Oct. 18.
Blas Heredia, 82, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died Nov. 5.
Jose Moreno, 67, Harlingen Service Center, died Nov. 5.
Evelyn Pittman, 78, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died Oct. 24.
Milam Von Roeder, 80, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died Oct. 27.
Robert Williamson, 69, Coleto Creek Power Station, died Oct. 24.
Donald Bell, 85, retired, Abilene General Office, died Nov. 11.
April Garcia, 55, retired, Abilene General Office, died Oct. 15.
AEP Service Corporation
Barbara Donahue, Canton Eastern Regional Office, retired Nov. 7 after 26 years of service.
Leroy Griffin, Arena Building, retired Oct. 4 after 31 years of service.
Bruce Roberts, Texarkana Operations, retired Nov. 5 after 13 years of service.
Elizabeth Strange, Shreveport General Office, retired Nov. 21 after 31 years of service.
Wilbur Butler, Columbus Northwest Service Center, retired Nov. 1 after 34 years of service.
James Charles, Columbus Underground Line, retired Oct. 18 after 24 years of service.
Willie Spivey, Newark Service Building, retired Oct. 1 after 23 years of service.
Howard Manns, Fieldale Office, retired Oct. 5 after 42 years of service.
Steven Patton, Milton Service Center, retired Oct. 1 after 35 years of service.
Robert Copeland, Northeastern Station 3&4, retired Oct. 9 after 35 years of service.
Michael Dearien, Amos Plant, retired Oct. 21 after 10 years of service.
Freddie Elswick II, Amos Plant, retired Oct. 25 after 41 years of service.
Andy Fisher, Gavin Plant, retired Oct. 1 after 30 years of service.
James Jeffers, Gavin Plant, retired Nov. 1 after 34 years of service.
Joel King, Oklaunion Plant, retired Nov. 1 after 32 years of service.
Clarence Lovejoy, Amos Plant, retired Oct. 15 after 40 years of service.
Patty Loy, Mitchell Plant, retired Nov. 1 after 38 years of service.
Arnold Marcum, Mountaineer Plant, retired Nov. 26 after 34 years of service.
Johnny Meredith, Rockport Plant, retired Nov. 1 after 31 years of service.
Timothy Riba, Mitchell Plant, retired Nov. 1 after 36 years of service.
Jay Scudder, Tanners Creek Plant, retired Oct. 27 after 37 years of service.
Greg Stiltner, Cook Coal Terminal, retired Oct. 2 after 30 years of service.
Nathan Yonker, Gavin Plant, retired Nov. 1 after 40 years of service.
Indiana Michigan Power
Mark Acree, Muncie Service Center, retired Oct. 31 after 28 years of service.
Cliff Polubinsky, One Summit Square, retired Nov. 1 after 25 years of service.
Jordan Yarde, One Summit Square, retired Nov. 1 after 18 years of service.
Fred Rutherford, Kingsport Service Center, retired Nov. 8 after 35 years of service.
Public Service Company of Oklahoma
Howard Ground, Oklahoma City State Affairs, retired Nov. 22 after 33 years of service.
Forrest Welch, Mid Metro Office, retired Oct. 28 after 29 years of service.
Southwestern Electric Power
J.R. Brown, Shreveport Operations, retired Oct. 16 after 36 years of service.
Fred Peeples, Natchitoches Service Center, retired Oct. 8 after 20 years of service.
James Winnett, Vernon Office, retired Oct. 17 after 33 years of service.
Jimmy Gordon, Texarkana Operations, retired Nov. 30 after 40 years of service.
Deborah Hall, Robert E. Matthews Service Center, retired Nov. 3 after 23 years of service.
Robert Mills, Texarkana Operations, retired Nov. 30 after 39 years of service.
(Story by Erica Putt)
Thirty years ago — Dec. 10, 1984 — Indiana Michigan Power Company’s Rockport Unit 1 became operational. At that time, Rockport made its contribution to the advancement of electricity generation technology with the first installation of temporary turbine fast valving controls for both control and intercept valves.
Rockport Plant employees and retirees gathered in September to take advantage of the beautiful autumn weather for an early anniversary celebration.
“A common theme during discussions over lunch were: ‘Has it really been 30 years?’ – followed very quickly by, ‘But we don’t look any older, right?'” said Judy Butcher, Rockport Plant administrator.
A second unit was added to the plant in 1989 and today each unit produces 1,300 megawatts of power — 2,600 megawatts total.
The Rockport site, located some distance outside of the AEP service territory, was selected because of its special suitability with respect to water supply, the receipt of coal via river barge and the relative ease of integrating the plant into the AEP System’s existing extra-high-voltage transmission network.
Over 230 employees and contractors work at Rockport and that number has swelled to over 680 with the installation of dry sorbent injection (DSI) technology which is used to reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions.
“Rockport has been a backbone to providing our customers with reliable electricity. I am very thankful for every employee and contractor who has worked at the plant over the last 30 years. Your dedication to keeping the lights on is apparent each and every day,” said Paul Chodak, Indiana Michigan Power president and chief operating officer.
Nick Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer, was named to the Executive Committee of the Business Roundtable (BRT) and was appointed chair of the Energy and Environment Committee. Akins will continue to participate on other BRT committees focusing on cybersecurity and regulatory reform.
President Obama spoke at the BRT quarterly meeting in Washington, D.C., Dec. 3 about a variety of business and economic issues. During the meeting, Akins had the opportunity to ask the president about the slew of regulations facing the electric utility industry and other businesses.
Established in 1972, the BRT is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies working to promote policies to improve U.S. competitiveness, strengthen the economy and spur job creation.