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Eight From AEP Selected to Attend WiNUP Annual Conference in Denver

Seven AEP employees and one retiree have been selected as winners of scholarships to attend the Women’s International Network of Utility Professionals (WiNUP) Annual Conference, to be held on October 7-9 in Denver, Colorado.

Conference attendees will be provided many developmental opportunities in the areas of energy, leadership, and community service.

AEP employee/retiree winners for the 2019 conference are:

Vivian Andrews, SWEPCO HR retiree (ArkLaTex Chapter, WiNUP)

Teresa Dearing, agilist lead, Information Technology, New Albany (non-member of WiNUP)

Misty Heldreth, customer services supervisor, Huntington, W.Va. (West Virginina Chapter, WiNUP)

Judy Hurd, business services account manager sr., Charleston, W.Va. (West Virginia Chapter, WiNUP)

Tiana Rankin, functional system analyst, Chief Customer Officer, AEP Headquarters (Ohio Chapter, WiNUP)

Holly Reed, equipment operator, Rockport Plant, Rockport, Ind. (Indiana Chapter, WiNUP)

Pa Vang, administrative assistant sr., Flint Creek Power Station, Gentry, Ark. (ArkLaTex Chapter, WiNUP)

Melissa Wiltrout, coordinator sr., GBS BPS Business Planning, AEP Headquarters (Ohio Chapter, WiNUP)

WiNUP is an association dedicated to providing professional development, networking and mentoring for women in the utility and energy industries.

For more conference information, visit WINUP.org.

‘OK Google, How Much is My Electric Bill?’

You can ask your smart speaker, or cellphone a lot of things, like, "Give me directions to Home Depot," or "What year did Edison invent the lightbulb?" and now American Electric Power customers can ask their connected devices even more questions.

Such as, "How much is my bill?" and "What was my energy usage?" or "Tell me an energy tip."

AEP's voice channel via Google and Amazon devices, such as Google's Pixel phones and Google Home speakers, or Amazon's Echo (Alexa) speakers, is now active and customers across AEP utilities — all but AEP Texas — can interact with their electricity provider. Customers can receive bill information, payment status, energy usage trends, efficiency recommendations and more.

"It's a good step forward in innovation," said Kellie Rhodebeck, senior marketing specialist. "Around 25% of Americans own a smart speaker and of course most of us have cell phones with voice assistants. This is AEP meeting customers where they are."

Kathy Kelley, customer, digital and channel manager, added, “This voice assistant channel offers us a great opportunity to be leaders among utilities in the customer space.  We are one of the first to offer a voice option across the customer billing, outage and energy usage journeys."

Paperless customers are able to pay their bill via Amazon's Alexa assistant. Bill pay isn’t supported on Google yet, but that feature will be available in the near future.

AEP is advertising the new capabilities in AEP Ohio and SWEPCO territories, using streaming audio advertising and social media videos to tell customers about the feature and how to use it.

AEP Ohio and SWEPCO markets were selected for advertising because their customers have the highest levels of social media engagement as well as the right target demographics which tend to utilize technology more intensively. 

“This aligns with our customer experience strategy to lower customer effort and meet the customer in the channel of their choice," Kelley said. "In this channel, we are experimenting with the opportunity to leverage our knowledge of the customer to offer relevant services such as auto pay, average monthly payment (AMP) and paperless billing," Kelley said.

Former Board Member Donald Carlton Passed Away

Donald M. Carlton, a former member of American Electric Power's Board of Directors, died Aug. 8 at the age of 82.

Carlton, of Austin, Texas, served as a director at AEP for 11 years. He was appointed to the board in 2000 and retired in 2011. He also served on the board of the Central and South West Corporation prior to AEP's acquisition of the company.

"Don was a valued member of our board of directors for many years," said Nick Akins, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of AEP. "Don was a talented scientist, a successful entrepreneur, a sought-after executive and a true gentleman. He will be missed by our family here at AEP."

Born in Houston in 1937, Carlton earned a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Texas. He founded Radian Corporation, which provides environmental services, in 1969 and led it as CEO until 1996. Other than AEP and CSW, Carlton served on the boards of National Instruments, Temple-Inland LLC, Hartford Steam Boiler and several others. He also served on the Strategic Science and Technology Council of the Electrical Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Power Operations Advisory Council of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations. 

According to his family, "Don was a big believer in giving back and participation in the community." He served on numerous boards and helped run community organizations in his beloved Texas. He was particularly fond of the University of Texas, where he was Chairman of the College of Natural Sciences Advisory Board, on the College of Engineering Advisory Council, and a lifetime member of the Chancellor's Council. He was named to the school's Natural Sciences Hall of Honor in 1992. He was also named to the University of Texas Commission of 125.

Carlton valued family more than all of his accolades. According to his obituary, when asked what gave him the most comfort, he replied, "Being in Comfort, Texas (at his ranch) and a hug around the neck". When asked what he valued most in life he said, "Family and the United States of America".

Carlton is survived by his wife of 58 years, Elaine; children Donna Mauer, Spencer Carlton (Dixie) and Monica Skeete (Jed); and six grandchildren. His brother, Richard Carlton and his family live in LaGrange, Texas. 

A celebration of Carlton's life will be held on Friday, Aug. 16 at 2:00 pm at St. John Neumann Catholic Church Austin, Texas. In lieu of flowers please send a contribution to Saint Louise House at saintlouisehouse.org or a charity of your choice. Arrangements by Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, Austin, Texas – (512) 452-8811. Remembrances may be left at www.wcfish.com.

 

Engineers ‘Went the Extra Mile’ to Save Stranded Turtle

Keegan Kirwin carried the stranded turtle to the end of the bridge while maintaining safety protocols, then completed the bridge inspection.

It was more than 90 degrees in Oologa, Oklahoma when Keegan Kirwin, engineering principal, Generation, came across an unexpected visitor during an inspection of a bridge on Northeastern Plant's rail spur.

A turtle, far from its home, was trapped between the rails.

Brandon Harrison, engineering pricipal, Generation, was with Kirwin on the inspection and tells the tale of what happened next:

"While performing a bridge inspection on the Northeastern Plant's rail spur, we came across a turtle," Harrison said. "Turtles will occasionally crawl underneath the rails and then get stuck between the rails when they can't climb over top. They often bake in the sun until they perish.

"We were a few hundred feet from the end of the bridge. Being that it was 90-plus degrees, Keegan decided to carry the turtle to the end of the bridge, to a shaded area."

Though Kirwin and Harrison took a detour from their inspection of the bridge to render aid to the turtle, they did not forget safety protocols.

"For safety, we wear harnesses and are tied off to the bride structure the entire time," Harrison said. "This means that Keegan had to go the extra effort of attaching and reattaching his tie off equipment every 20 feet, just to deliver the turtle to safety, then walk back to where we left off in our inspection.

"He went the extra mile to help save the turtle."

AEP Reports Second Quarter Earnings; Reaffirms Full-Year Earnings Guidance

American Electric Power today reported second-quarter 2019 earnings, prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), of $461 million or $0.93 per share, compared with $528 million or $1.07 per share in second quarter 2018. Operating earnings for second quarter 2019 were $494 million or $1.00 per share, compared with operating earnings of $498 million or $1.01 per share in second quarter 2018. Operating earnings is a non-GAAP measure representing GAAP earnings excluding special items. The difference between 2019 GAAP earnings and operating earnings for the quarter and year-to-date was driven in part by certain one-time transactional costs related to the acquisition of assets from Sempra Renewables, as well as severance and related charges.

A full reconciliation of GAAP earnings to operating earnings for the quarter and year-to-date is included in the full news release on AEP.com.

“We continue to achieve solid earnings results based on our investments to enhance the resiliency and reliability of service we provide for our customers,” said Nick Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Our performance in the second quarter was positive, even without the boost from weather that we had last year. Weather was back to normal this spring and has been much more moderate this year than in the first half of 2018.        

“Our Transmission Holding Co. business continues to grow as we make critical investments to replace aging equipment and ensure that we maintain a robust, resilient grid. AEP Transmission Holding Co. contributed 31 cents per share for the quarter, an increase of 10 cents per share from the same period last year. Net plant for AEP Transmission Holding Co. has grown by $1.4 billion, a 19% increase, since June 2018,” Akins said.

“We also are moving forward with the clean energy investments that our customers have told us they expect from their energy provider. We filed last week for regulatory approval to acquire and own 1,485 megawatts of new wind energy that will provide significant savings benefits for our customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. We also recently completed the purchase of 227 MW of the Santa Rita East Wind Project near San Angelo, Texas. AEP now has nearly 5,300 MW of regulated and contracted renewable generation in its portfolio, including 2,258 MW that we own and another 3,015 MW through long-term power purchase agreements.

“Our performance so far this year is on track with our expectations, even though we are seeing lower demand across all customer classes primarily due to trade tariffs and the strong U.S. dollar. Despite these economic headwinds, we continue to grow the business and remain confident in reaffirming our 2019 operating earnings guidance of $4.00 to $4.20 per share,” Akins said.

Retirements & Obits

Hello.

I am the editor for the AEP Retirees and Alumni site. I am writing to let you know that I have received the many emails about the lack of retirements and obits postings.

I apologize for their absence.

Those lists are given to me by Human Resources, which has gone through big changes in the past few months. Ironically, the person who pulled those reports retired, then more recently the department made some changes that disrupted the ability to pull that information together.

A solution is being worked on, but I don’t have a timeline for when that will come online.

In the meantime, I will be posting more content here. If there is specific content or topics that you would like to see, please comment below, or send me an email.

Thanks,

JD Malone

jdmalone1@aep.com

Rozsa to Retire; Reese and Scott Take on New Roles in Investor Relations

Bette Jo Rozsa, managing director, Investor Relations, has announced plans to retire Sept. 30. Darcy Reese, director, Investor Relations, will be promoted to managing director, Investor Relations, effective Oct. 1 and will lead AEP’s efforts to communicate with investors and the financial community. Reese will report to Julie Sloat, senior vice president, Treasury and Risk.

Tom Scott, financial reporting manager, Corporate Financial Reporting, will be promoted to director, Investor Relations.

Bette Jo Rozsa, Darcy Reese, Tom Scott

“For 39 years, Bette Jo has been an incredible asset to AEP,” said Brian Tierney, executive vice president and chief financial officer. “Through pivotal changes in our company, she has provided invaluable institutional knowledge as well as a strong understanding of the investor and market perspectives. We wish her the best in her well-deserved retirement. Under Julie’s guidance, I know Darcy and Tom will continue to cultivate strong relationships with AEP’s investors and stakeholders and tell our story as the premier regulated energy company.”

Rozsa began her career with AEP in 1980 in Accounting Policy and Research. In 1987, she became director of Shareholder Relations and was responsible for managing retail shareholders and bondholders along with overseeing the annual meeting of shareholders. In 1997, she assumed her current role, which included expanded responsibilities of developing a proactive institutional investor relations program and overseeing AEP’s acquisition of Central and South West Corp. from an investor relations perspective. In 2017, Rozsa was the first AEP employee named to Institutional Investor magazine’s All America Executive Team, ranking third overall and second by the sell side as “Best Investor Relations Professional in Electric Utilities.”

Reese joined the company in 2008 as manager of Corporate Financial Reporting. She also was director of Accounting Policy and Research before becoming director of Investor Relations in 2017. Prior to joining AEP, she worked in various finance and accounting roles at L Brands and Exel Global Logistics (DHL).

Scott began working for AEP in 2013 in Corporate Financial Reporting. In 2015, he took a position in Accounting Policy and Research before returning to Corporate Financial Reporting as a manager in 2017. Prior to joining AEP, he worked in public accounting for KPMG LLP.

New AEP Benefits Center Provides an Easier Way to Manage Your Benefits Online

AEP has introduced a unified online benefits experience with a whole new and much easier way to learn about, compare, and, when the time comes, elect your benefits options.

The newly redesigned AEP Benefits Center website at www.aepbenefits.com provides you with a single place with detailed information about the benefits that AEP provides, including making payments towards your direct bill account for your retiree medical, dental, vision and life insurance coverages.

The AEP Benefits Center is now supported by two service providers, Businessolver, Inc., as the health and welfare administrator, and Mercer, as the AEP Pension Plan administrator, working together to serve all of your benefit needs as seamlessly as possible.

Most benefit needs can now be accomplished through the new AEP Benefits Center website without having to remember different website addresses, user names and passwords.

Underlying AEP benefit plans, services, and networks are not affected by this change nor does the change affect the actual providers that administer these coverages.

For example, if you are currently an Anthem or Aetna medical plan participant, Anthem or Aetna will remain your medical plan provider.

Continue to use 1-888-237-2363 if you have questions about your AEP benefits. Although the phone number has not changed, the prompts you hear when you connect are now different. Please listen carefully to select the option that best fits your needs.

Visit AEP Benefits Center to create a new user name and password (using company key “AEP”), so you will be ready to make any changes as needed, and to access to numerous tools and educational resources.

We Heard You . . . So Changes Are Coming to AEP Benefits Center

Some good things are about to happen to the AEP Benefits Center and its website for AEP employees and retirees.

This July, AEP will unveil a whole new look and feel for the online and overall service center experience for employees and retirees. The best part is that most benefits will be brought into one online experience — backed by an improved AEP Benefits Center, driven by a new service provider.

You will continue to use the same telephone number (1-888-237-2363) that you currently call when you have a question or need benefits assistance. A single URL address will direct you to the website that will provide an enhanced online experience for you, including access to SofiaSM — your virtual online benefits assistant, available 24/7, who can answer many of your benefit questions.

These upcoming changes will affect how you can update, use and get information about your benefits. Benefit plans and services offered will not be affected by this change.

This week, retirees were mailed information that introduces some of these changes. More details will be provided nearer to and after the transition, so watch your email and mail.

Celebrations planned for Kentucky Power’s 100th anniversary

ASHLAND, Ky. – Kentucky Power started delivering safe, reliable and affordable electricity to customers in eastern Kentucky on July 21, 1919. In celebration of its centennial, Kentucky Power pledged to deliver 100 Acts of Appreciation to say thank you to its customers.

The expression of gratitude extends to employees, too. Three district-wide celebration picnics are planned for June for employees, retirees and their families. The events will include food and family activities.

Hazard’s event is scheduled for June 8, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., at Carr Creek Lake’s Poplar Shelter. Activities include a playground and inflatables for kids, fishing, volleyball and horseshoe games.

Ashland’s event is June 15, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Boyd County Community Center. Activities will include inflatables for the kids and corn hole games.

Pikeville’s event is June 22, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Archer Park in Prestonsburg. Activities include a pool and playground for the kids.

“One-hundred years is a milestone worth celebrating,” said Kentucky Power President Brett Mattison. “We know we couldn’t have reached this point without our dedicated employees. Coming together outside of work as a Kentucky Power family is special and wonderful way to say thank you and celebrate the occasion.”

If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Breanna Howell in Ashland at bahowell@aep.com, Misty Baker in Hazard at mabaker1@aep.com, or Mike Hatfield in Pikeville at mthatfield@aep.com.