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Lopez Recognized During Hispanic Heritage Month

Omar Lopez was one of several community leaders recognized by local the chapter of the American GI Forum for making a positive impact in the community.

(Story by Frank Espinoza)

Omar Lopez, AEP Texas communications manager, will be touring the streets of Corpus Christi during the month of October to raise awareness of past, present and future Hispanic leaders.

Actually, the image of Lopez featured on the side of a Regional Transit Authority bus will be traveling the city. The image was unveiled recently during a local Spanish television program as part of National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Lopez, an active member of the Corpus Christi business community, was one of several community leaders recognized by local the chapter of the American GI Forum, a Hispanic veterans and civil rights organization for making a positive impact in the community.

Patsy Vasquez-Cortes, national chairwoman of the American GI Forum, said the selection was based on the theme, Empowering Tomorrow’s Leaders.

“This effort will raise awareness of leaders who have paved the way for Hispanics,” said Vasquez-Cortes. “It also will illustrate to children how they can make a difference.”

Julio Reyes, AEP Texas vice president of External Affairs, said the recognition is well deserved. Reyes was recognized in the same way last year.

“Omar is an extremely engaged leader in our community and is worthy of this honor,” said Reyes. “I commend him for his achievements because he demonstrates positive leadership and represents AEP Texas well.”

When asked how it felt to see his image on public display, Lopez said it feels a bit odd although at the same time, he feels honored.

“It’s a bit surreal to see my face on the bus,” he said. “But then again, it’s an honor because I know the image on the bus represents my mother and father, my teachers, and the many other great people who have influenced and shaped me.”

BOLD Wins International Tower Design Award

Meihuan (Nancy) Fulk (right) accepted the CIGRE Korea/KEPCO International Design Award Grand Prize for BOLD. On the left is Kjell Age Halson of Stanett SF, Norway, with the Bronze prize. In the  middle is Henrik Skouboe or BYSTRUP, UK, the runnerup (Gold prize) winner.

(Story by George Promenschenkel)

BOLD® (Breakthrough Overhead Line Design) has earned another prestigious award, the grand prize in the “International Tower Design Award” from CIGRE/KEPCO. The competition, sponsored by CIGRE Korea and the Korea Electric Power Company (KEPCO), was held in Seoul, South Korea, during the CIGRE semi-annual meetings.

To take the prize, BOLD beat out 26 other tower designs from around the world. The judges recognized BOLD for its practical and environmentally friendly design, blending both performance and aesthetics.

Nancy Fulk represented AEP at the event and accepted the prize on behalf of AEP and BOLD. The award includes a cash prize of $5,000 to AEP and BOLD.

Read more about the BOLD project.

 

Customer Affected by Hurricane Irma Expresses Gratitude to Employees

Willie Noble celebrated 40 years with Appalachian Power on Sept. 6. He is pictured just after returning from Florida and proudly wearing his U.S. Army hat. Photo courtesy Steve Browning and Robbie Arnold.

(Story by Teresa Hall)

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — Richard Cabaniss and others were hauling 12 gallons of gasoline a day to his friend’s home to fuel the generator powering his dialysis machine. But 48 hours after Hurricane Irma hit the Tampa Bay area, Cabaniss was growing increasingly worried about his friend’s health. That sense of dread would subside when Cabaniss met an Appalachian Power employee who lives by the Golden Rule.

“Every person and every customer we have is important,” said Willie Noble, who returned home to Bluefield, West Virginia, after working nearly a week in Tampa as an assessor. “Sometimes people just need to be heard and to know that someone cares.”

The simple act of listening had a profound effect on Cabaniss, who not only phoned the AEP Customer Solutions Center to applaud Noble, but also wrote a lengthy email to Appalachian Power praising the company’s nearly 400 employees and contract workers for their power restoration efforts as well.

“We sometimes want to complain and not take the time to say THANK YOU, but I for one want to say a BIG THANK YOU to your crews that came here and also a BIGGER THANK YOU to one of your crew members,” wrote the Florida resident.

Cabaniss’ messages were the result of an encounter in the field with Noble and APCo employee Steve Browning. Cabaniss said he’d repeatedly tried to alert his utility company to the fact his friend had recently undergone a triple bypass and was on a dialysis machine, but that all of his attempts to get someone to listen in-person or over the phone had been unsuccessful until he approached Noble.

“He never once said NO I CAN’T HELP YOU… he never said once, I am sorry, but we can’t help,” wrote Cabaniss, who didn’t get Noble’s name, but said he was wearing a U.S. Army Veteran hat and traveling in a Bluefield, W.Va. utility truck with the Appalachian Power logo. The employee was soon identified as Noble, who spent three years on active duty in the Army and 18 years in the Army reserves. He’s also enjoyed a long career at Appalachian Power; earlier this month Noble celebrated 40 years as a company meter electrician.

Noble said he submitted Cabaniss’ information about his friend to Tampa Electric. “The man was grateful to us, but I wish I could have done more to help,” said Noble who described himself as living by the Golden Rule — treat others as you would want to be treated.

Service to the ailing man’s home was restored in 24 hours. Noble had no way of knowing if his efforts contributed to the power coming back on, but that mattered little to Cabaniss. An employee in the AEP Customer Solutions Center said Cabaniss was so tearful that he could hardly speak when he described his experience with Noble. Cabaniss’ email message was also filled with emotion and gratitude.

“NOT A SELFISH WORD WAS SPOKEN. NO PROMISES were made, just one person listening to me ask for help for my friend,” Cabaniss wrote.

“I want you and management to know, we appreciate the unselfish acts of your company and your employees for their help. God Bless them and your company.”

Obituaries

AEP Service Corporation

Ronald Blitz, 80, retired, Central Operations Center, died July 30.

Charles Carney, 72, AEP Headquarters, died August 12.

William Lhota, 77, retired, AEP Headquarters, died August 10.

Thomas Lynch, 89, retired, AEP Headquarters, died August 16.

John Yurkovitch, 76, retired, died August 19.

Appalachian Power Company

Larry Blain, 76, retired, Pt. Pleasant Service Center, died July 27.

Jimmy Ferguson, 81, retired, Amos Plant, died July 22.

James Haynes, 82, retired, Bluefield Office, died July 16.

Henry Jones Jr., 92, retired, Bluefield Office, died August 3.

Buddy Peaytt, 71, Sporn Plant, died August 18.

Columbus Southern Power Company

William Ash, 85, retired, 850 Tech Center, died August 4.

Kerry Daniels, 72, retired, Columbus Southwest Service Center, died August 22.

Donald Hutchinson, 78, retired, 825 Tech Center, died August 2.

Bruce Peart, 67, Chillicothe Service Center, died August 24.

Indiana Michigan Power Company

John Fryer, 80, retired, Cook Nuclear Plant, died August 8.

Donald Gudgeon, 83, retired, Tanners Creek Plant, died August 23.

Bryon Moore, 67, Elkhart Service Center, died July 24.

Robert Roemke, 85, retired, One Summit Square, died July 27.

Arthur Tetzlaff, 80, retired, Buchanan Nuclear Office, died August 18.

David Williams, 74, retired, New Buffalo Service Center, died July 29.

William Zent, 76, retired, Baer Field Service Center, died August 6.

Ohio Power Company

Phillip Dehainaut, 65, Gavin Plant, died August 2.

Phillip Earnest, 65, Kammer Plant, died August 25.

Dennis Johnson, 85, retired, Cook Coal Terminal, died August 3.

Roger Leifheit, 74, retired, Gavin Plant, died August 1.

Dominic Martino, 91, retired, Steubenville Service Center, died August 2.

Robert Wells, 86, retired, Lancaster Office Building, died August 21.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma

Rebecca Allen, 64, Mid Metro Office, died August 16.

Betty Colley, 88, retired, Tulsa General Office, died August 30.

F. L. Parker, 89, retired, Tulsa General Office, died July 16.

Frederick Yelton, 87, retired, Tulsa General Office, died August 8.

Southwestern Electric Power Company

George Vandyke, 82, retired, Shreveport General Office, died August 22.

Texas Central

Jesse Buentello, 65, Corpus Christi Office, died August 16.

James Potcinske, 83, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died July 27.

Agnes Wade, 82, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died July 26.

Texas North

Norma Caldwell, 97, retired, Abilene General Office, died July 6.

W.C. Rogers Jr., 90, retired, Abilene General Office, died August 4.

Wayne Wainscott, 91, retired, Abilene General Office, died August 28.

Transmission

Larry Cook, 71, Energy Delivery Headquarters-Gahanna, died August. 26.

Roy Johnson, 73, Del Rio Service Center, died August 19.

August Retirements

AEP Ohio

Mark Delay, Minerva Annex, retired August 1 after 40 years of service.

Joan Kaser, Energy Delivery Headquarters-Gahanna, retired August 3 after 28 years of service.

Philip Neill, Marietta Service Center, retired August 1 after 16 years of service.

Deborah White, Energy Delivery Headquarters-Gahanna, retired August 11 after 16 years of service.

AEP River Transportation Division

Jerry Lucas, River Transportation Division, retired August 1 after 19 years of service.

AEP Service Corporation

Kenneth Baldwin, AEP Headquarters, retired August 26 after 21 years of service.

Joseph Bilardello, AEP Headquarters, retired August 11 after 38 years of service.

Daniel Hummel, AEP Headquarters, retired August 1 after 32 years of service.

Bruce Hutchins, AEP Headquarters, retired August 9 after 33 years of service.

Robert Powers, AEP Headquarters, retired August 5 after 19 years of service.

Richard Rozzell, AEP Headquarters, retired August 19 after 16 years of service.

Ruth Sigmund, AEP Headquarters, retired August 16 after 42 years of service.

AEP Texas

Jeffry Peck, Kenedy Service Center, retired August 24 after 32 years of service.

Susan Wilkerson, El Campo Service Center, retired August 26 after 34 years of service.

Appalachian Power Company

Anthony Combs, Bluefield (W.Va.) Service Center, retired August 26 after 35 years of service.

William Crotty Jr., Bluefield (W.Va.) Service Center, retired August 1 after 38 years of service.

Joe Jones, Roanoke Main Office, retired August 5 after 36 years of service.

Michael Mercier, Roanoke Main Office, retired August 12 after 32 years of service.

Lynette Robinson, Huntington Service Center, retired August 10 after 28 years of service.

Ricky Stickley, Central Machine Shop, retired August 5 after 30 years of service.

Generation

Duston Aton, Dolet Hills Mine, retired August 7 after 32 years of service.

Vincent Ball, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired August 19 after 31 years of service.

Bernard Clark, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired August 1 after 36 years of service.

Edward Gallert, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired August 16 after 36 years of service.

Thomas Kettle, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired August 1 after 29 years of service.

Richard Penn, Mountaineer Plant, retired August 1 after 37 years of service.

Victor Roppolo, Dolet Hills Mine, retired August 1 after 28 years of service.

Michael Turner, Rockport Plant, retired August 12 after 37 years of service.

Gary Wilson, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired August 19 after 26 years of service.

Indiana Michigan Power Company

Kris Fuller, South Bend Service Center, retired August 16 after 30 years of service.

Jean Hayes, Muncie Service Center, retired August 2 after 40 years of service.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma

Shirley Sprenger, Tulsa General Office, retired August 10 after 42 years of service.

Southwestern Electric Power Company

Charles Moore, Memphis Service Center, retired August 1 after 25 years of service.

Robert Walker Jr., Longview Operations, retired August 2 after 20 years of service.

Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief Donations to be Matched by AEP Foundation; Employees Donate $70,000 for Harvey Relief

Puerto Rico’s power grid was devastated by Maria.

(Story by Barry Schumann)

With more than $70,000 in employee donations having been collected for Hurricane Harvey relief in southeastern Texas, the American Electric Power Foundation has approved a new match for employee and retiree donations for relief efforts in the hurricane-battered U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

The Foundation will make a special contribution to provide a 100 percent match up to $50,000 to employee and retiree donations to help areas of Puerto Rico impacted first by Hurricane Irma and most recently and significantly by Hurricane Maria. Puerto Rico is the homeland of at least 20 AEP employees and the ongoing source of numerous AEP Transmission co-op students from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez Campus College of Engineering. Maria has destroyed Puerto Rican infrastructure, leaving the majority of the island’s nearly 3.5 million residents without power, communications, water and other basic services. At least 10 people have been confirmed killed by the storm.

Donations to the AEP Emergency Disaster Relief Fund of the Salvation Army special relief fund through Oct. 13 will be administered by The Salvation Army. The AEP Foundation match will go to the American Red Cross.

“Hurricane Maria has devastated Puerto Rico. Reports predict it will be many months before the electric grid is fully restored, and with it communications and water services re-established,” said Nick Akins, AEP chairman, president and CEO. “AEP employees want to help, and their donations along with the AEP Foundation match will help Puerto Ricans regain a sense of normalcy.”

Donations may be made with credit card by calling toll-free 1-800-217-6029 from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Eastern time, or by writing a check payable to The Salvation Army/AEP EDR Fund. The check memo line should include Hurricane Maria/PR. Checks may be sent via U.S. mail to:

The Salvation Army
Attn.: AEP Emergency Disaster Relief Fund, Hurricane Maria/PR
966 E. Main St.
Columbus, Ohio 43205

Contributions are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. In order to receive a receipt for tax purposes, be sure to include contact information on or with the check.

Contributions received through this special collection through Oct. 13 will be used only for Hurricane Maria relief in Puerto Rico.

If you have already made a donation to the Red Cross or Salvation Army for Puerto Rico relief and can document your gift, we will make every effort to match your donation through the AEP Foundation. Please forward documentation to Barry Schumann.

The AEP Foundation is funded by American Electric Power and its utility operating units. The Foundation provides a permanent, ongoing resource for charitable initiatives involving higher dollar values and multi-year commitments in the communities served by AEP and initiatives outside of AEP’s 11-state service area.

Retired Line Mechanic Reminds Us That Sharing Safety Shows We Care

David Seel encourages employees to make safety a daily habit.

(Story by Rachel Hammer)

When a retired line mechanic with 39 years of experience, and now an instructor at a local tech school, offers safety advice, it’s worth listening.

In our next Because We Care video, retiree David Seel encourages employees to make safety a daily habit. He also encourages employees to share safety.

“Showing someone a safe way means you do care about them,” Seel says in our newest AEP Safety & Health Channel video.

 

AEP Foundation to Match Employee/Retiree Donations Up to $100,000 for Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts

Employee/retiree contributions to the AEP Emergency Disaster Relief Fund of The Salvation Army for relief efforts in hurricane-ravaged portions of the AEP Texas service area have surpassed $50,000, prompting the American Electric Power Foundation to increase the maximum match up to $100,000.

(Story by Barry Schumann)

Employee/retiree contributions to the AEP Emergency Disaster Relief Fund of The Salvation Army for relief efforts in hurricane-ravaged portions of the AEP Texas service area have surpassed $50,000, prompting the American Electric Power Foundation to increase the maximum match up to $100,000.

The Foundation will make a special contribution to provide a 100 percent match to employee/retiree donations to help families impacted by Hurricane Harvey and subsequent flooding in Corpus Christi and surrounding communities since Aug. 18.

This special relief effort does not include damage caused by Hurricane Irma. AEP leaders want to focus the Foundation resources and generous contributions from active and retired employees on support for our customers in Texas.

Donations to the special relief fund through Sept. 25 will be administered by The Salvation Army. The AEP Foundation match will go to the American Red Cross.

Donations may be made with credit card by calling toll-free 1-800-217-6029 from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Eastern time, or by writing a check payable to The Salvation Army/AEP EDR Fund. The check memo line should include Hurricane Harvey. Checks may be sent via U.S. mail to:

The Salvation Army
Attn.: AEP Emergency Disaster Relief Fund, Hurricane Harvey
966 E. Main St.
Columbus, Ohio 43205

Contributions are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. In order to receive a receipt for tax purposes, be sure to include contact information on or with the check.

Regular payroll deduction contributions to the AEP Emergency Disaster Relief Fund will not be used for this special disaster response, although impacted AEP employees and retirees may apply for funding as noted below.

Active and retired AEP employees who qualify for assistance as a result of this or other emergencies may apply for up to $3,000 in aid through the AEP Emergency Disaster Relief Fund administered through the Salvation Army to help employees when disasters strike. To print an application for assistance, or to make ongoing contributions to support the fund, see the AEP Emergency Disaster Relief Fund links under the “Links” tab on this site. View a contribution form.

The AEP Foundation is funded by American Electric Power and its utility operating units. The Foundation provides a permanent, ongoing resource for charitable initiatives involving higher dollar values and multi-year commitments in the communities served by AEP and initiatives outside of AEP’s 11-state service area.

Mutual Assistance: AEP Sends Nearly 2,000 Employees and Contractors to Help Florida/Georgia Utilities

AEP Ohio crews were staged in Atlanta Sept. 10 as Hurricane Irma struck Florida.

As always, AEP is responding to the call for help following a major weather catastrophe. Nearly 2,000 employees and contractors from six AEP operating companies are either en route or already on site helping Florida Power and Light, Tampa Electric Company, Duke Energy and Georgia Power Company with the restoration process following the massive destruction left behind by Hurricane Irma.

At peak, Florida Governor Rick Scott said about half of the state’s 21 million residents were without power. He also noted that more than 30,000 out-of-state utility workers were aiding the effort to turn lights back on across the state.

AEP began deploying workers as early as Sunday, and some may spend up to two weeks or more assisting in Florida and Georgia following the historic hurricane, which came right on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, which struck Texas the week before with record-setting rainfall and massive damage in parts of Texas and Louisiana. AEP Texas employees and contractors continue to work on restoring all power in that region.

Here is a breakdown of AEP’s mutual assistance effort:

AEP Ohio — 650 employees and contractors

Appalachian Power Company — 400 employees and contractors

Indiana Michigan Power Company — 262 employees and contractors

Kentucky Power Company — 136 employees and contractors

Public Service Company of Oklahoma — 283 employees and contractors

Southwestern Electric Power Company — 233 employees and contractors

Total — 1,964 employees and contractors

2018 Medical Plans for Over-Age-65 Retirees Include Many Advantages

AEP retirees who are age 65 and over will receive good news soon about medical plans from AEP that will replace their current medical plan coverage, with reduced participant contributions. The plans were designed to parallel our existing coverage options for retirees who currently receive medical coverage through a combination of traditional Medicare (parts A & B) and an AEP supplement plan, if elected.

These medical plans, effective January 1, 2018, are known as Group Medicare Advantage plans. The plans will continue to be offered through Aetna and are customized for and sponsored by AEP.  A transition to Group Medicare Advantage Plans allows AEP to better manage long-term costs while maintaining the overall value of coverage and service through retiree medical plans.  This change does not impact coverage for retirees who are under the age of 65.

The plans have many benefits for participants, including:

  • 2018 monthly medical plan premiums, for those over-age-65 retirees who have them, will be lower than in 2017.
  • The plans provide streamlined claims processing and participants will only need one card for medical coverage (current coverage requires two cards).
  • The plans will cover the same healthcare services received through AEP’s current plans.
  • Retirees maintain access to the same medical providers as in the current AEP plans.
  • Overall plan coverage levels for inpatient and outpatient care are the same as or better than the current AEP plans.
  • Pharmacy benefits remain unchanged and will continue to be administered by Express Scripts.
  • Participating retirees will have access to health and wellness programs and other features not offered through AEP’s current plans.

AEP and Aetna are working together to make the transition to these plans as seamless as possible and to provide retirees with detailed information on the plans and their many benefits. In addition to mailed information, AEP and Aetna will be hosting in-person meetings (throughout our territory), webinars and conference calls.  Retirees are encouraged to reach out to AEP’s dedicated support team at Aetna with any questions they have about their current plan or their transition to Group Medicare Advantage.

Active employees and retirees under the age of 65 are not eligible for the over-65 medical plan options.

More information: