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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:

AEP Texas Working to Recover After Hurricane Harvey

A pile of crumpled steel and metal is all that remains of the station house at the Live Oak Substation located in Portland, Texas. Portland is a community less than 30 miles from where Hurricane Harvey made landfall last Friday. Photo by Smokey Hays.

(Story by Omar Lopez)

AEP Texas continues the efforts to restore electricity to over 130,000 customers who remained without power Tuesday afternoon as a result of Hurricane Harvey. The storm, which reached Category 4 level when it made landfall on Friday night in Rockport, was the third storm of its size to ever strike Texas. At 2 p.m. Saturday, the number of outages peaked at 220,000 for the area.

More than 3,600 personnel from across the country have arrived in Texas to help with the restoration effort. Crews hail from Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and other parts of south Texas. That number is expected to increase to 4,600 within days.

“We’re facing hundreds of down power lines, as well as utility poles damaged by the storm,” said Tom Coad, AEP Texas vice president of Distribution Region Operations. “(On Tuesday) there are nearly 4,400 hazard tickets still being addressed throughout the Coastal Bend area and approximately 2,600 in Corpus Christi alone. We know that customers are concerned about these hazards, and we are trying to get each one as quickly as possible.”

AEP Texas employees activated the Incident Command System (ICS) days before Harvey’s arrival at the AEP Texas headquarters in Corpus Christi, within 30 miles of where the storm made landfall in Rockport.

The massive storm slowly developed momentum in the Gulf of Mexico over several days and grew from a Category 1 hurricane to a Category 4 in just over 24 hours. It hit the Texas coast with sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.

AEP CEO Nick Akins greeted an AEP Texas bucket truck as it made its way back to the Aransas Pass Service Center on Wednesday morning. Akins was visiting Corpus and the surrounding area following Hurricane Harvey.

AEP Texas estimates that at least 2,100 utility poles and 55 transmission structures were damaged or knocked down by the storm.

Destruction after the storm is massive, particularly in the small coastal cities of Rockport, Port Aransas and Aransas Pass. Preliminary reports indicate that the Aransas Pass Distribution Service Center is a complete loss.

AEP Texas projects that by Wednesday, Aug. 30, at 10 p.m. crews will have restored power to 95 percent of the customers within the City of Corpus Christi city limits, as well as the Sinton area. Most other areas affected by the storm have an ETR of 10 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 2; however, some areas such as Rockport, Aransas Pass, Port Aransas, Fulton, Woodsboro, Port Lavaca, Lamar and Bayside do not have ETRs yet, given the tremendous amount of devastation left by the storm.

Hurricane Harvey moved up the Texas coast and has now dumped a recorded 51.12 inches in the Houston area. Although no longer a hurricane, it is expected to re-enter the Gulf of Mexico and make landfall for a third time next week somewhere near Louisiana.

Please see AEPTexas.com for continuous updates on restoration efforts.

AEP Volunteers Will Make a Difference Oct. 28

(Story by Barry Schumann)

America celebrates the spirit of volunteerism this year on Make a Difference Day, Saturday, Oct. 28. The 26th annual “national day of doing good” is sponsored by TEGNA in partnership with Points of Light and is the largest national day of community service.

AEP is making a difference through a mini-grant program that encourages employees and retirees around the System to become involved in community projects in their locales.

AEP’s Make a Difference Day grants range up to $300 to help fund local projects that involve at least five AEP active or retired employees in partnership with a school or nonprofit organization on Oct. 28 as part of the nationwide event.

Each year, around two dozen local projects coordinated by AEP employees are funded through AEP’s Make a Difference Day grant program.

Projects can be as simple as helping a family in need or may be a coordinated effort serving an entire community.

Application deadline for mini-grants is Sept. 28, 2017 (the fourth Thursday in September).

Complete an on-line application at AEP.com/MDDgrant.

AEP Foundation Completes the Square

Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea cuts a ribbon in celebration of the new Children’s Museum at Center in the Square. The museum is named for retired AEP Board of Directors member Don Smith (seated) and his wife, Barbara.

(Story by Teresa Hamilton Hall)

ROANOKE, Va. — A generous donation from the American Electric Power Foundation helped fulfill a long time dream for a retired member of AEP’s board of directors. The Don and Barbara Smith Children’s Museum opened last week to an enthusiastic crowd gathered at Roanoke’s Center in the Square.

AEP Chairman, President and CEO Nick Akins and AEP Executive Vice President for External Affairs Charles Patton joined Appalachian Power President and COO Chris Beam for the Aug. 15 ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The AEP Foundation contributed $250,000 toward construction of the children’s museum. Don Smith served on the AEP Board of Directors for more than a dozen years and is a retired CEO and chairman of the board of Roanoke Electric Steel.

Smith applauded the AEP Foundation for its support. “This dream is now a reality,” Smith told the crowd gathered for the museum’s opening day.

The Children’s Museum – known as Kids’ Square – is located on the third floor of Center in the Square.

The museum’s highlight is an exhibit called Our Town that lets children participate in activities that mirror how citizens live and work in a community. The exhibit includes a bank, grocery store, classroom, hospital room, dentist’s office, and vet clinic, among others.

Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea and several enthusiastic children cut a ribbon signifying the grand opening. Guests were then invited to tour the museum and take photos.

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.

Obituaries

Appalachian Power Company

Fredrick Bonham, 90, retired, Beckley Service Center, died June 27.

Oren Hawley, 93, retired, Abingdon Service Center, died July 14.

William Hohman Jr., 44, Amos Plant, died July 23.

Norman Mora, 88, retired, Sporn Plant, died July 2.

John Ratcliffe, 72, retired, Bluefield Office, died July 3.

Donald Scales, 67, Clinch River Plant, died July 13.

Frank Williams, 74, Central Machine Shop, died July 17.

Columbus Southern Power Company

Glenn Hursey, 82, retired, 850 Tech Center, died July 5.

Sidney Kloes, 81, retired, 850 Tech Center, died July 5.

Indiana Michigan Power Company

William Southworth, 72, Cook Nuclear Plant, died July 24.

Kentucky Power Company

David Henderson, 60, Big Sandy Plant, died July 3.

Ohio Power Company

Paul Cardone, 73, Gavin Plant, died July 3.

Richard Lee, 79, Kammer Plant, died June 26.

Richard Oberholtzer, 86, retired, Steubenville Service Center, died July 23.

Robert Smith, 93, retired, Southern Ohio Coal Company, died July 5.

James Trimmer, 96, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died July 27.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma

James Jones, 80, retired, Tulsa General Office, died July 18.

Lea McVay, 82, retired, Tulsa General Office, died July 23.

Texas Central

Arthur Castillo, 67, Central Shops, died July 14.

Vernon Clausen, 83, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died June 23.

Herbert Collins, 66, Marshall Office, died July 9.

J.W. Goble, 79, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died July 3.

Danny Jurado, 58, Marfa Service Center, died June 17.

N.R. Luedecke, 80, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died July 10.

Dolores Martinez, 84, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died July 9.

Donald Shuttlesworth, 93, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died July 17.

Texas North

J.E. Allard, 84, retired, Abilene General Office, died June 28.

J.R. Casillas, 83, retired, Abilene General Office, died June 17.

July Retirements

AEP Ohio

Debra Alessandro, Canton General Service Center, retired July 20 after 36 years of service.

Ricky Ashbaugh, Van Wert Service Center, retired July 4 after 36 years of service.

Kenneth Boldman, Chillicothe Service Center, retired July 27 after 32 years of service.

Dennis Daugherty, 825 Tech Center, retired July 8 after 20 years of service.

Roger Frohnapfel, Wheeling Service Building, retired July 1 after 40 years of service.

Michael Hoagland, Mt. Vernon Service Center, retired July 26 after 37 years of service.

Stephen Hopkins, Chillicothe Service Center, retired July 24 after 38 years of service.

Robert Lent, Chillicothe Service Center, retired July 24 after 37 years of service.

Ronald McCathran, Grandview Service Center, retired July 29 after 44 years of service.

Kenneth Prince, Bucyrus Service Center, retired July 8 after 39 years of service.

Steven Sloma, Tiffin Service Center, retired July 8 after 32 years of service.

Meredith Weatherhead, Steubenville Service Center, retired July 1 after 37 years of service.

AEP Service Corporation

Joseph Hartsoe, Washington Office, retired July 8 after 15 years of service.

Rebecca Keener, AEP Headquarters, retired July 6 after 21 years of service.

Robert Lewandowski, AEP Headquarters, retired July 22 after 31 years of service.

David Miller, AEP Headquarters, retired July 15 after 33 years of service.

Randall Port, 850 Tech Center, retired July 29 after 38 years of service.

Kevin Stogran, AEP Headquarters, retired July 7 after 37 years of service.

Agnes Voon, AEP Headquarters, retired July 6 after 20 years of service.

Ken Waters Jr., AEP Headquarters, retired July 1 after 14 years of service.

Ken Zimmerman, AEP Headquarters, retired July 1 after 38 years of service.

AEP Texas

Harold Ashley, Kingsville Central Distribution Center, retired July 1 after 50 years of service.

Chris Crutchfield, Victoria Service Center, retired July 1 after 35 years of service.

Debra Duncan, McCamey Service Center, retired July 18 after 35 years of service.

Marcia Morgan, Corpus Christi Office, retired July 22 after 34 years of service.

Felix Rodriguez III, Western Division Office, retired July 29 after 47 years of service.

Michael Stavinoha, Victoria Service Center, retired July 1 after 32 years of service.

Appalachian Power Company

Daniel Cowan, APCO Headquarters Building, retired July 6 after 24 years of service.

Timothy Crane, Roanoke Service Building, retired July 8 after 24 years of service.

Deborah Ferron, Rocky Mount Service Center, retired July 26 after 33 years of service.

Melinda Gibbs, Roanoke Main Office, retired July 1 after 31 years of service.

Robin Hagy, Roanoke Main Office, retired July 1 after 26 years of service.

Anthony Holland, Fieldale Office, retired July 1 after 30 years of service.

Gilliam Kidd Jr., Lovingston Service Center, retired July 1 after 37 years of service.

Janice Venable, Virginia State Office, retired July 15 after 10 years of service.

Generation

Jimmy Adkins, Amos Plant, retired July 1 after 27 years of service.

Vicki Alison, Lieberman Power Plant, retired July 26 after 36 years of service.

Frank Ballog, Cardinal Plant, retired July 1 after 10 years of service.

Thomas Briggs, Cardinal Plant, retired July 5 after 42 years of service.

Michael Buckle, Amos Plant, retired July 1 after 39 years of service.

Ralph Davidson Jr., Cook Nuclear Plant, retired July 18 after 24 years of service.

Shirley Dilbeck, Flint Creek Plant, retired July 1 after 38 years of service.

Jack Howard, Weleetka Power Station, retired July 1 after 34 years of service.

Michael Maggard, Northeastern Station 3&4, retired July 13 after 35 years of service.

Randy Mantei, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired July 1 after 36 years of service.

Gregory Mashak, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired July 8 after 31 years of service.

Gale Phillips, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired July 26 after 17 years of service.

Randall Randolph, Mountaineer Plant, retired July 8 after 38 years of service.

Daniel Smith, Amos Plant, retired July 1 after 34 years of service.

Ronald Steele, Mountaineer Plant, retired July 1 after 37 years of service.

Ellen Vickery, Knox Lee Plant, retired July 15 after 28 years of service.

Indiana Michigan Power Company

Mickey Bellville, Buchanan Nuclear Office, retired July 7 after 20 years of service.

William Hix, One Summit Square, retired July 1 after 38 years of service.

Jeffrey Stout, Spy Run Service Center, retired July 29 after 24 years of service.

Southwestern Electric Power Company

William Collinsworth, Dolet Hills Lignite Mine, retired July 31 after 30 years of service.

Bobby Halton, Longview Operations, retired July 1 after 38 years of service.

Benjamin James, Shreveport Operations, retired July 18 after 40 years of service.

Kenneth Manson, Longview Operations, retired July 14 after 39 years of service.

Maureen Peters, Shreveport Office, retired July 21 after 38 years of service.

Transmission

Donald Leibengood, Fostoria Service Center, retired July 29 after 44 years of service.

Peter Martinez, La Palma Transmission Office, retired July 1 after 44 years of service.

Judith Moser, Transmission Operations Center, retired July 1 after 18 years of service.

David Wright, John W. Vaughan Center, retired July 1 after 35 years of service.

Former AEP Executive Bill Lhota, 77, Passes Away

Bill Lhota

William J. (Bill) Lhota, 77, passed away Aug. 10 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Lhota retired from AEP as executive vice president-energy delivery after a 37-year career at the company. At retirement, he was in charge of AEP’s power transmission and distribution systems in 11 states.

He began his career with AEP in 1965 when he joined Ohio Power Company as an associate engineer in transmission. He held various positions at Ohio Power, including transmission and distribution engineering manager and executive assistant to the president.

He was named senior vice president-operations in 1983 and president and chief operations officer for Columbus Southern Power Company from 1987-89. He also served as executive vice president-operations (1989-96), executive vice president-energy delivery and customer relations (1996-2000) and executive vice president-energy delivery (2000-2001). Lhota retired from the company Jan. 1, 2001.

During Lhota’s 37-year career, he had extensive experience in public policy and labor relations. Lhota had day-to-day responsibility for public policy in Washington and in Ohio for over four years and supervised both Washington and state public policy for over 18 years. Lhota worked with organized labor throughout his career and was instrumental in establishing cooperative relations between AEP and it’s labor unions.

Lhota most recently served as president and chief executive officer for the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) and was a director of Huntington Bancshares Inc. He also served as chairman of the Columbus Municipal Airport Authority, the National Society of Professional Engineers Board of Ethical Review, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from The Ohio State University 1964, and a master’s degree in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge in 1978. He was a registered professional engineer in Ohio , Michigan and New York, and a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers and the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers.

He is survived by his wife, Susan, and daughter, Ann. A son preceded him in death.