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Did You Hear? AEP Launches New Employee Podcast

“I remember the boom. I remember the light and I just remember falling to the ground,” said Michele Ross, distribution dispatching manager at AEP Ohio, as she tells the story of being in an underground vault with a co-worker when an arc flash occurred. “I could see him, his face, and it just wasn’t good.”

Ross’s story is in one of the premier episodes of a new podcast series for AEP employees. Four episodes are included in the initial launch of The AEP Employee Podcast. You will hear your co-workers explain issues or tell stories in their own voices.

In the first episode, CEO Nick Akins discusses leading a major corporation through unpredictable and tumultuous times.

“I think everyone was pushed out of their comfort zone. If they weren’t, they really weren’t human,” Akins said of the past year. “I think one of the central issues that a CEO needs to understand and exhibit is what they don’t know.”

The new podcast will focus on a range of topics, from massive changes in our industry, to individual stories of interest, to confronting difficult truths that will illuminate our work and our co-workers.

Henry Brown, director of grid modernization at SWEPCO, speaks out about the stark prejudice he experienced as a black employee in 1975, and the things that still need to change at AEP.

“I began to learn very quickly that minorities didn’t go very high at SWEPCO,” Brown said. “I didn’t have a problem speaking up and voicing my opinion about that. And sometimes that wasn’t very well received. Well, often it wouldn’t be well received.”

In another episode, we learn what AEP’s cyber security employees are up against as they protect the company and its critical infrastructure from a cast of real threats.

“Ukraine was cyber compromised two years in a row,” said Steve Swick, vice president and chief security and privacy officer for AEP, “and threat actors, Russia, turned off the power each time. One year they shut it off twice.”

Future episodes will also take us outside of AEP to stories in the communities we serve and care about. New episodes are released every two weeks. To subscribe to the podcast, point your phone or other podcast listening device at AEP.com/EmployeePodcast. You’ll find links there to the Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher podcast services.

New to podcasting? Here’s information on getting started with podcasts.

Or if you just want to listen to the current episodes, you can do that at [http://corpcomm/podcast] or externally at https://theaepemployeepodcast.buzzsprout.com.

The series is hosted by Bailey Cultice, communications consultant principal. Cultice has led communication efforts for Safety and Health since she joined the company in 2017. This work has taken her to every part of AEP’s territory to film videos for the Safety and Health Channel. She’s also been heavily involved in AEP’s efforts to make driving safer through projects like The Driving Summit. Cultice is a second generation AEP employee. Her parents met while working at the Tanners Creek Plant in Lawrenceburg, Indiana and her father, Jim, worked in Generation for more than 40 years.

You can also play a part in the AEP podcast. Do you have an interesting story related to your time with the company? Is there a topic you’d like to know more about? If so, send us an email at podcast@aep.com.

March-April 2021 Obits

Indiana

Michael Perdue, 73, Tanners Creek Plant, Lawrenceburg, IN, died 3/12/2021   

Mary Barrington, 95, Ft Wayne One Summit Square, Ft. Wayne, IN, died 3/27/2021   

Michael Parcher, 78, South Bend Svc Ctr, South Bend, IN, died 4/8/2021   

Morris Mathews, 94, South Bend Svc Ctr, South Bend, IN, died 2/21/2021   

William Young, 90, Spy Run Bldg. #3, Ft. Wayne, IN, died 3/26/2021   

Audrey Miller, 91, Ft Wayne One Summit Square, Ft. Wayne, IN, died 3/19/2021   

Max Cunningham, 87, Spy Run Bldg. #3, Ft. Wayne, IN, died 2/22/2021   

Franklin Maddox, 85, Rockport Plant, Rockport, IN, died 3/24/2021   

Loren Shaleen, 98, Ft Wayne One Summit Square, Ft. Wayne, IN, died 2/28/2021   

Kentucky

Larry McDowell, 83, Big Sandy Plant, Louisa, KY, died 4/11/2021   

Louisiana

J Taylor, 86, Shreveport General Office, Shreveport, LA, died 2/25/2021    

Dexter Johnson, 80, Plaquemine District Ofc/Plt, Plaquemine, LA, died 3/20/2021   

Walter Williams, 66, Dolet Hills Lignite, Mansfield, LA, died 3/21/2021   

Michigan

Daniel Krause, 68, Cook Nuclear Plant, Bridgman, MI, died 3/25/2021   

Larry Eber, 84, Cook Nuclear Plant, Bridgman, MI, died 2/16/2021   

Missouri

James Anderson, 83, AEP River Operations – Cape, Cape Girardeau, MO, died 4/2/2021   

Ohio

Jon Merrifield, 76, Athens Ofc & Svc Center, Athens, OH, died 2/18/2021   

Larry Foust, 64, AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, died 2/17/2021   

Steve Hall, 70, Conesville Plant, Conesville, OH, died 2/28/2021   

Kenneth Reigle, 74, Conesville Plant, Conesville, OH, died 3/20/2021   

Todd Knutsen, 59, Cardinal Plant, Brilliant, OH, died 4/9/2021   

David Thurston, 74, AEPOH 700 Bldg Gahanna, Gahanna, OH, died 3/4/2021   

Duane Jones, 77, Muskingum River, Waterford, OH, died 3/30/2021   

John Drosak, 78, Canton Estrn Reg Ofc, Canton, OH, died 4/4/2021   

James Hemphill, 76, AEPOH 700 Bldg Gahanna, Gahanna, OH, died 3/7/2021   

Ronnie McCalla, 76, Mound St Svc Ctr, Columbus, OH, died 3/28/2021   

Margaret Sparks, 79, Central Operations Center, Groveport, OH, died 3/3/2021    

Richard Hering, 87, AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, died 2/23/2021   

Wilbur Smith, 82, AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, died 4/1/2021   

Wilbur Witham, 92, Athens Ofc & Svc Center, Athens, OH, died 2/1/2021   

Gerald Stillings, 85, Central Operations Center, Groveport, OH, died 3/19/2021   

Donald Mowery, 92, Findlay Service Center, Findlay, OH, died 3/18/2021   

Joe Bryan, 94, Belmont Ofc & Svc Bldg, St. Clairsville, OH, died 2/15/2021   

Charles Conner, 81, Athens Ofc & Svc Center, Athens, OH, died 3/11/2021   

James Rice, 83, Lima Service Center, Lima, OH, died 3/7/2021   

Fred Pildner, 79, Canton South Svc Ctr, Canton, OH, died 2/26/2021   

Dix Burke, 86, 850 Tech Center Bldg, Gahanna, OH, died 3/29/2021   

John Nugent, 84, Zanesville Office, Zanesville, OH, died 4/9/2021   

Richard Perry, 79, Athens Ofc & Svc Center, Athens, OH, died 4/8/2021   

Blaine Weinstock, 83, Muskingum River, Waterford, OH, died 2/19/2021   

Willard Preston, 93, Lancaster Office Bldg, Lancaster, OH, died 2/24/2021   

Alex Lazar, 94, 850 Tech Center Bldg, Gahanna, OH, died 3/27/2021   

Delores Adams, 62, Chillicothe Svc Ctr, Chillicothe, OH, died 2/28/2021    

Tyler Blaker, 38, AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, died 4/8/2021   

Oklahoma

Manley Clements, 101, Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, died 2/22/2021   

Wilbert Hunsicker, 90, Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, died 2/21/2021   

Orvalette Rentie, 86, Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, died 2/16/2021   

Billy Weathers, 88, Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, died 3/8/2021   

Roy Rogers, 82, Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, died 3/4/2021   

Texas

Robert Burley, 96, Home Office-CC, Corpus Christi, TX, died 3/28/2021   

Douglas Curry, 71, West.Div Br.-Uvalde, Uvalde, TX, died 2/17/2021   

Ja Fuller, 98, Home Office-CC, Corpus Christi, TX, died 3/1/2021   

Juan Molina, 57, Laredo Service Center, Laredo, TX, died 3/18/2021   

Frank Najera, 86, Home Office-CC, Corpus Christi, TX, died 4/5/2021   

James Smith, 80, Welsh Plant, Pittsburg, TX, died 2/15/2021   

Anthony Rash, 58, Longview Operations, Longview, TX, died 4/3/2021   

Willie Guerra, 77, Welsh Plant, Pittsburg, TX, died 2/20/2021   

Billy Glover, 84, General Office, Abilene, TX, died 3/18/2021   

Ruth Tipton, 90, General Office, Abilene, TX, died 3/11/2021    

Virginia

Richard Fortune, 67, Lynchburg Svc Ctr, Lynchburg, VA, died 3/19/2021   

Robert Williams, 69, Lynchburg Svc Ctr, Lynchburg, VA, died 3/4/2021   

John Altice, 74, John W. Vaughan Center, Roanoke, VA, died 4/7/2021   

Winfred Anderson, 75, Roanoke Service Bldg., Roanoke, VA, died 3/12/2021   

Norman Fowler, 78, Lynchburg Svc Ctr, Lynchburg, VA, died 3/21/2021   

Raymond Witt, 96, Lynchburg Office, Lynchburg, VA, died 2/23/2021   

Claymus Harlowe, 79, Roanoke Main Office, Roanoke, VA, died 2/15/2021   

Robert Parks, 88, Clinch River Plant, Cleveland, VA, died 3/18/2021   

West Virginia

James Longwell, 64, Mitchell Plant, Cresap, WV, died 3/6/2021   

Denver Jeffers, 59, River Trans Division, West Columbia, WV, died 4/13/2021   

Robert Hughes, 85, Amos Plant, Winfield, WV, died 2/27/2021   

Charles Hoffman, 75, Sporn Plant, New Haven, WV, died 3/1/2021   

John Hurt, 86, Bluefield Wv Srv Ctr, Bluefield, WV, died 3/18/2021   

Oscar Goodnight, 78, Windsor Coal Mine, West Liberty, WV, died 2/18/2021   

Charles Martin, 84, Sporn Plant, New Haven, WV, died 3/14/2021   

George Wright, 92, Amos Plant, Winfield, WV, died 3/8/2021    

March-April 2021 Retirements

Arkansas

Stephen Moore retired 3/21/2021 from Flint Creek Plant, Gentry, AR, after 28 years  

Robert Cheatham retired 4/14/2021 from Fayetteville Operations, Fayetteville, AR, after 41 years  

Alice Reese retired 3/31/2021 from Nashville, Nashville, AR, after 31 years  

Indiana

Ricky Roos retired 4/9/2021 from Rockport Plant, Rockport, IN, after 13 years  

Salaam Muhammad retired 4/9/2021 from Ft Wayne One Summit Square, Ft. Wayne, IN, after 42 years  

David Hille retired 4/15/2021 from Ft Wayne One Summit Square, Ft. Wayne, IN, after 36 years  

James Sprunger retired 4/10/2021 from Marion Svc Ctr-Bldg#2, Marion, IN, after 31 years  

James Sprunger retired 4/10/2021 from Marion Svc Ctr-Bldg#2, Marion, IN, after 31 years  

Kentucky

Jerry Stanley retired 3/26/2021 from Paintsville Office, Paintsville, KY, after 34 years  

Stephen Clevinger retired 3/27/2021 from Pikeville Service Ctr, Pikeville, KY, after 23 years  

Louisiana

Mark Rath retired 4/3/2021 from Shreveport Operations, Shreveport, LA, after 38 years  

Timmy Stanley retired 4/20/2021 from Lieberman Power Plant, Mooringsport, LA, after 37 years  

Michigan

William Davis retired 4/1/2021 from St Joe Ofc & Svc Ctr, Benton Harbor, MI, after 46 years   

Duane Cobb retired 4/7/2021 from Cook Nuclear Plant, Bridgman, MI, after 37 years  

Robbie Bates retired 4/17/2021 from Cook Nuclear Plant, Bridgman, MI, after 25 years  

Keith Foote retired 4/2/2021 from Buchanan Nuclear Ofc, Buchanan, MI, after 22 years  

Ohio

Greg Filipkowski retired 4/3/2021 from AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, after 15 years  

Joseph Stimpfl retired 4/6/2021 from AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, after 22 years  

Paul Parsons retired 4/3/2021 from Central Operations Center, Groveport, OH, after 33 years  

Glenn Smith retired 4/6/2021 from Newark Service Bldg, Newark, OH, after 36 years  

Paul Tevis retired 3/26/2021 from Steubenville Service Center, Steubenville, OH, after 35 years  

Raymond Zitney retired 4/20/2021 from Canton Estrn Reg Ofc, Canton, OH, after 35 years  

John Oharrow retired 3/20/2021 from Canton General Svc Ctr, Canton, OH, after 30 years  

Carter Beasley retired 3/19/2021 from AEP Transmission NewAlbany HQ2, New Albany, OH, after 18 years  

Joseph Emberger retired 4/1/2021 from AEP Transmission NewAlbany HQ2, New Albany, OH, after 39 years  

Greg Filipkowski retired 4/3/2021 from AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, after 15 years  

John Oharrow retired 3/20/2021 from Canton General Svc Ctr, Canton, OH, after 30 years  

Ann Beasley retired 3/19/2021 from AEP Transmission NewAlbany HQ2, New Albany, OH, after 18 years  

Oklahoma

Jerome Dawson retired 4/3/2021 from Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, after 38 years   

H Gering retired 4/3/2021 from Northeastern Stn 3&4, Oologah, OK, after 40 years  

Charles Montgomery retired 4/5/2021 from Northeastern Stn 3&4, Oologah, OK, after 42 years  

Steven Peck retired 4/11/2021 from Northeastern Stn 1&2, Oologah, OK, after 32 years  

Billy Gray retired 4/3/2021 from Tulsa Transmission Office & SC, Tulsa, OK, after 38 years  

Salome Duran retired 4/3/2021 from Philcade Transmission, Tulsa, OK, after 25 years  

Edward Buchanan retired 3/31/2021 from Southwestern Station, Anadarko, OK, after 42 years  

Salome Duran retired 4/3/2021 from Philcade Transmission, Tulsa, OK, after 25 years  

Texas

Dwane Tervooren retired 4/17/2021 from Meter Services, Abilene, TX, after 41 years  

Darcey Woolridge retired 4/1/2021 from Longview Operations, Longview, TX, after 43 years  

Raul Gonzalez retired 4/1/2021 from Abilene Distribution, Abilene, TX, after 36 years  

Bryan Parker retired 4/1/2021 from Renaissance Tower, Dallas, TX, after 22 years  

Jr. Zamarripa retired 4/3/2021 from Western Div Office, Laredo, TX, after 43 years  

J Guevara retired 4/1/2021 from Marfa SC, Marfa, TX, after 40 years  

Marino Rodriguez retired 4/17/2021 from Childress, Childress, TX, after 37 years  

Robert Munoz retired 4/3/2021 from Hebbronville Area Off, Hebbronville, TX, after 20 years  

Ruben Lopez retired 4/17/2021 from Laredo Service Center, Laredo, TX, after 40 years   

Tommy Robinson retired 4/17/2021 from Vernon, Vernon, TX, after 38 years  

Thomas Pilkinton retired 3/20/2021 from Gilmer, Gilmer, TX, after 37 years  

Debra Hille retired 4/17/2021 from Home Office-CC, Corpus Christi, TX, after 38 years  

Stephen Wood retired 3/20/2021 from Welsh Plant, Pittsburg, TX, after 46 years  

Juan Gaona retired 4/1/2021 from San Benito Service Center, San Benito, TX, after 35 years  

Ramiro Ramos retired 4/10/2021 from Corpus Christi Service Center, Corpus Christi, TX, after 40 years  

Dwane Tervooren retired 4/17/2021 from Meter Services, Abilene, TX, after 41 years  

Fausto Zamarripa retired 4/3/2021 from Western Div Office, Laredo, TX, after 43 years  

Marino Rodriguez retired 4/17/2021 from Childress, Childress, TX, after 37 years  

Robert Munoz retired 4/3/2021 from Hebbronville Area Off, Hebbronville, TX, after 20 years  

Tommy Robinson retired 4/17/2021 from Vernon, Vernon, TX, after 38 years  

Virginia

David Jackson retired 4/1/2021 from Wytheville Svc Ctr, Wytheville, VA, after 40 years  

James Mills retired 4/3/2021 from John W. Vaughan Center, Roanoke, VA, after 32 years  

Robert McComas retired 3/20/2021 from Clinch River Plant, Cleveland, VA, after 37 years  

James Mills retired 4/3/2021 from John W. Vaughan Center, Roanoke, VA, after 32 years  

West Virginia

Jeffrey Rogers retired 4/17/2021 from Beckley Service Center, Beckley, WV, after 40 years   

Dwane Foster retired 4/1/2021 from Amos Plant, Winfield, WV, after 42 years  

James Parsons retired 4/2/2021 from Amos Plant, Winfield, WV, after 37 years  

Dewey Hill retired 4/1/2021 from Bluefield Wv Srv Ctr, Bluefield, WV, after 40 years  

William Hitchcock retired 4/15/2021 from N Charleston Trs Svc Ctr, Charleston, WV, after 43 years  

Martin Hewitt retired 4/3/2021 from Wheeling Service Bldg, Wheeling, WV, after 42 years  

Robert Crush retired 4/17/2021 from Mountaineer Plant, New Haven, WV, after 33 years  

Raymond Willford retired 4/3/2021 from Mountaineer Plant, New Haven, WV, after 36 years  

Mickel Parsons retired 4/17/2021 from N Charleston Svc Ctr, Charleston, WV, after 35 years  

Robert Crush retired 4/17/2021 from Mountaineer Plant, New Haven, WV, after 33 years  

Raymond Willford retired 4/3/2021 from Mountaineer Plant, New Haven, WV, after 36 years  

Good Catch – Line Mechanics Rescue Neighbor’s Pup

Lineworkers Chanze Gilbert and Trent Schoonover visit their new best friend.

The swift actions of line mechanics Chanze Gilbert and Trent Schoonover proved to be life saving for a friendly pup living next door to the Point Pleasant Service Center.

On a cold day in February, Gilbert and Schoonover were bundled up to brave the freezing temperatures and walking across the service center lot when they spotted smoke pouring out of the neighbor’s yard.

They immediately dropped what they were doing, rushed to the fence dividing the two properties and found that the neighbor’s doghouse had caught on fire. Thankfully, the dog was not inside the house at the time of the fire, but the terrified pup was chained near the doghouse and trying to escape.

Gilbert jumped the fence and cut the chain to remove the dog from the area while Schoonover ran to his vehicle to get a fire extinguisher to put out the fire before it spread further.

After the fire was extinguished, they investigated and found that the fire was caused by a heat lamp igniting straw which was insulating the doghouse.

When District System Supervisor Leon Brotsky heard about the rescue, he wasn’t surprised. “I know these men well and this is just in their character. They care about each other and their fellow man,” Brotsky said. “I’m just very thankful they were at the right place at the right time and we were able to lend a hand to our neighbors and get our four-legged friend moved to safety.”

The homeowners were thankful for the quick actions of Gilbert and Schoonover. They expressed their sincere appreciation with a basket of goodies for the line mechanics.

AEP Employees Targeted By Unemployment Scams

Scammers are still trying to take advantage of the health and economic impacts of coronavirus.  One of the most common scams is filing false unemployment claims. More than 350+ AEP employees – including senior executives – have been targeted by this scam.

Criminals use employees’ [Personally Identifiable Information (PII)] to file false unemployment claims. Many of these claims include a mixture of valid and fabricated data. Our Security team has investigated several of these reports and determined that the data was not stolen from AEP, based on current information. These false claims are affecting companies across the country.

What to do if you discover your PII has been used

If your PII has been used to file a false unemployment claim, here’s what you should do:

Please be aware you may experience extended wait times due to a high volume of calls.

How to protect yourself from coronavirus scams and other identity theft threats

Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • Please review any notifications you may get from your state’s unemployment agency.  You may receive information that someone is attempting to file for benefits using your identity.
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit report to make it harder for identity thieves to open accounts in your name.
  • Consider placing a credit freeze to lock down your credit.
  • Use these tips to avoid coronavirus-specific and other identity theft scams.

AllClear is available to help

AEP employees who are the victim of fraud or identity theft can use AllClear to advocate on their behalf. An AllClear investigator will contact financial institutions and help secure accounts to prevent additional losses. There’s no need to register – simply call 1-855-227-9830 if you have an issue with your identity information.  It also offers identity theft insurance up to $1 million in covered losses.

You can also register for AllClear’s Credit Monitoring. AllClear will monitor your credit bureau account for inquiries related to new credit applications. You’ll be notified by phone or email when activity is detected.  You must enroll to participate and you have the option to renew your enrollment each year:

Call 1-855-227-9830 for assistance with registration from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. ET, Monday – Saturday.

Financial Performance by the Numbers

AEP had a solid first quarter. We made almost $80 million more than we did during the first three months of last year. We also announced plans to add 16,595 megawatts of new renewable generation by 2030 for our operating company customers.

What Nick is saying: “Our solid earnings for the quarter reflect the continued investments we are making to enhance service for our customers and modernize the grid as we accelerate our transition to a clean energy future,” said Nick Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer.  

Things aren’t back to normal: Our load is down compared to this time last year and we expected this. The pandemic had just started and the first quarter of 2020 was, essentially, our last “normal” quarter before the impacts of the pandemic.

  • Our load in the first quarter of 2021 shows that while customers are still spending a lot of time at home, they’re not spending as much as they were at the height of the pandemic.
  • Industrial and commercial sales are still down. We expect to see improvement as the country continues to reopen and the economy recovers.

Why who uses the power matters: This impacts our earnings because we make more from residential sales than commercial or industrial.

Why we’re optimistic: We reaffirmed our 2021 operating earnings guidance range of $4.55 to $4.75 per share and our long-term operating earnings growth rate of 5 – 7%.

  • The dip in industrial sales in the first quarter was due to the winter storm that affected multiple parts of the country. This was a one-time event that we don’t expect to impact our outlook for the rest of the year.
  • The economy in our service territory will likely experience the full impact of the government’s additional stimulus in the coming months.

You can see the numbers here.

The other big story – renewables: AEP is planning to add up to 16,595 megawatts of new wind and solar generation to our fleet by 2030.

  • Since the beginning of the year, we’ve been reviewing the fuel mix and future generation needs for each operating company (ex: if the power we’re providing to customers comes from solar, wind, coal or gas).
  • Why we’re doing this: The decision to grow our renewable generating capacity was based on a review of the resource needs for each operating company. Grid Solutions worked with each of the operating companies to review their needs.
  • The addition of new renewable generation will be gradual as we work with regulators in our states on approval for our plans. It will happen from 2021 to 2030.
  • By 2030, just over half of our generating capacity will be renewables.
  • The 16,595 MW of new renewable generation includes 8,566 MW we previously announced in November 2020 and the new renewable generation for SWEPCO that was announced during the last quarterly earnings call in March.

Why this matters: Our customers and investors have been clear that they want cleaner energy resources. We set new carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction targets, which we announced last quarter. Adding these new renewables will get us closer to those CO2 reduction goals.

What are the goals again?:

  • An 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 from our 2000 baseline.
  • We’re working to reach net zero emissions by 2050. AEP defines “net zero” to mean that we will offset any carbon emissions from our generation at that time.

 

Celebrate Earth Day With Some Natural Gardening Tips

AEP Security Technical Specialist Senior Kristi Crissinger is an avid gardener dedicated to using native plants and earth-friendly methods at her home. “Plant native perennials, shrubs, and trees,” she says.  “For every non-native (sometimes invasive) species, there is a native alternative that will benefit your yard, pollinators, and birds.” With permission from AEP leadership, Kristi helped plant a pollinator garden on the patio outside the cafeteria at the Columbus headquarters in 2019. During the first year, Monarch butterflies, caterpillars, and chrysalises (shells holding butterply or moth pupae) were seen there.

With April showers bringing May flowers, many of us plan to clean up our garden and flower beds. But with insect population sustainability in mind, especially pollinators, you may want to wait to remove old plant debris for a few more weeks. You might be disturbing important insects and their habitat.

Because AEP’s footprint is varied, the instructions in this article may not apply to everyone – check your local agricultural extension office for localized information.

What can you do to encourage overwintering insects and figure out when to do spring yard cleanup?

Resist the urge to remove dead stalks and grasses

Wait as long as you can to clean out dead stalks and grasses in the garden; overwintering insects  may be living there. Ideally, home gardeners should wait until it is time to mow regularly, or if the daytime temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees Fahrenheit for at least seven consecutive days. It is wise to wait until trees blossom and bees emerge to seek the nectar.

Most native insects may have spent the winter in  pupal or immature forms (butterflies and moths, such as swallowtails, fritillaries, and the Luna moth), cleverly blending in with leaves and dead stalks in the garden and wild areas.

Fireflies and native bees hide in leaf litter or create burrows underground and stay within an inch or two of the surface.

Some bees utilize natural cavities, such as hollow stems from pithy plants and grasses or tunnel into dead wood created by feeding beetles to escape the cold.

Let leaves lie

Many insects live and overwinter in the layers of leaves left behind in the fall. It provides shelter from the cold and a great habitat for their food sources as well. Raking, shredding, and blowing leaves may destroy delicate chrysalides (developing butterfly), as well as the insects themselves. Consider leaving one area of your yard wild, or letting the leaves lie where they fall for the pollinators.

Insects are a food source for birds, particularly those that are feeding their young.  The more insects in your yard, the more birds you will attract and be able to see and enjoy.

Kristi Crissinger does not apply weed killer to her yard because it would also kill the violets, which nourish birds and small mammals. She does not mind the dandilions.

Mulching can be a problem

Many invertebrates are unable to dig through the heavy wood chip mulches. Using leaf mold or compost is one alternative; another would be to mulch the first few feet from the front of your beds, leaving the back of the beds available to nesting bees and insects to make their homes. Never apply mounds of mulch around the base of your trees. This is harmful. Instead, spread it out more thinly at the base of the tree and place more mulch toward the outer edges of the bed. This allows more water to get to the roots of the tree.

If you must clean up

Toss cut perennial and woody plant stems onto the compost pile very, very loosely, or spread them out at the edge of the woods. Many of the insects taking shelter inside the plant stems will still be able to emerge when the time is right. When you cut off the plants, leave about eight inches of stubble behind. These hollow stems will serve as overwintering sites for future generations of insects and the new growth will soon hide them.

Remember to support insects and birds this fall

Consider letting your plants and fallen leaves stand as they are through the winter, instead of cutting back and removing dead material. Not only will leaf litter and dried stems provide habitat for insects, but also dead seed heads can be a food source for overwintering and migrating birds.

Our pollinators live and overwinter in the layers of leaves – which provide shelter from the cold and a great habitat for their food sources. Raking, shredding, and blowing leaves may destroy the delicate chrysalises which contain developing butterflies. If you live in a neighborhood with a culture of precise garden beds, you might consider placing a sign in your flower gardens to help advertise your efforts to save the bees, butterflies and birds.

Information for this article came from a variety of online resources and advice from Kristi Crissinger, an employee and avid native plant gardener

It’s Not Luck: Canton Underground Celebrates 20 Injury-Free Years

Left to right: Vince Eberhardt, Bryan Wright, Eric Halsey, Mark Copeland, Brian Tong, Seth Robison, Mark Icardi, Eric McCreery. Top: Ed Nuske

Distribution System Supervisor Eric McCreery knows from his family ancestry a thing or two about the luck of the Irish. But you don’t reach 20 years of injury-free work by being lucky.

McCreery’s underground network team in Canton celebrated this significant Zero Harm milestone on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. The team is a small group of seven network mechanics and a crew supervisor. Their average age is 55 and they know each other well.

“All the guys here have worked in the trenches together for years. They’ve worked their way up,” McCreery said. “We’re more like a family. It’s a close-knit group. There’s a whole lot of experience here, and that helps.”

According to McCreery, Canton’s underground network was built in the late 1920s and is the third-oldest underground network in the country behind only New York and New Orleans. With aging equipment that has been around for decades, the Canton underground network was completely rebuilt starting in 2006 through 2016 – a huge undertaking that installed brand-new cable, transformers, protectors, a monitoring system and a new substation. The project was a seminal moment for many of the workers who worked side by side during the effort, cementing long-lasting camaraderie and valuable skills.

The group was formed after a restructuring in 2001 and that’s when current safety records started. (It’s possible that the 20-year safety performance may extend farther back.) The group’s small size ensures they work with each other almost every day and that’s why they operate completely in sync.

“These guys are all together, all the time. They know each other so well that when a task is being performed they know the next step before they’re even told to do it,” McCreery said. “They’re very good at communicating. No one is afraid to speak up. These guys are very good at what they do – they’ll stop a job because things aren’t going to work or because something may not be right.”

McCreery says Canton network mechanics are hard workers who achieve results consistently and quietly. They don’t seek out accolades, but this milestone is worth taking a moment to pause and recognize.

“They like being under the radar. They come in, do their job and do it well. They don’t ask for the limelight, but they deserve it.”

  • Eric Halsey, Network Crew Supervisor   
  • Vince Eberhardt, Network Mechanic-A       
  • Mark Icardi, Network Mechanic-A                        
  • Ed Nuske, Network Mechanic-A     
  • Seth Robison, Network Mechanic-A       
  • Brian Tong, Network Mechanic-A           
  • Bryan Wright, Network Mechanic-A       
  • Mark Copeland, Network Mechanic-B                                                                                                        

Obits Jan.-Feb. 2021

Arkansas

Johnny McKain, 71, Flint Creek Plant, Gentry, AR, died 1/24/2021      

Indiana

John McLaughlin, 73, Spy Run Bldg. #1, Ft. Wayne, IN, died 12/31/2020      

Melvin Parkes, 67, South Bend Svc Ctr, South Bend, IN, died 2/12/2021      

Morris Mathews, 94, South Bend Svc Ctr, South Bend, IN, died 2/22/2021      

Richard Bognar, 88, South Bend Svc Ctr, South Bend, IN, died 2/8/2021      

Max Cunningham, 87, Spy Run Bldg. #3, Ft. Wayne, IN, died 2/23/2021      

Phyllis Odell, 89, Muncie Srv Ctr, Muncie, IN, died 12/29/2020      

Loren Shaleen, 98, Ft Wayne One Summit Square, Ft. Wayne, IN, died 3/1/2021      

Beverly Byram, 81, Tanners Creek Plant, Lawrenceburg, IN, died 1/9/2021      

Kentucky

Everett Kiger, 88, Robert E Matthews Service Cent, Ashland, KY, died 1/23/2021       

Louisiana

J Taylor, 86, Shreveport General Office, Shreveport, LA, died 2/26/2021      

James Tait, 80, Shreveport General Office, Shreveport, LA, died 1/1/2021      

Patsy Jones, 83, Shreveport General Office, Shreveport, LA, died 1/22/2021      

Robert Haskett, 56, Dolet Hills Lignite, Mansfield, LA, died 2/20/2021      

Raybon Williams, 74, Natchitoches Service Center, Natchitoches, LA, died 1/7/2021      

Michigan

Roger Gacki, 79, Cook Nuclear Plant, Bridgman, MI, died 2/1/2021      

David Butler, 73, Cook Nuclear Plant, Bridgman, MI, died 2/1/2021      

Larry Eber, 84, Cook Nuclear Plant, Bridgman, MI, died 2/17/2021      

Gustave Rothmaler, 95, Rockefeller Center, New York, NY, died 1/19/2021      

Ohio

Jon Merrifield, 76, Athens Ofc & Svc Center, Athens, OH, died 2/19/2021      

Jack Horner, 73, Muskingum River, Waterford, OH, died 1/21/2021      

Ronald Davis, 78, 850 Tech Center Bldg, Gahanna, OH, died 2/1/2021      

Larry Foust, 64, AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, died 2/18/2021      

Steve Hall, 70, Conesville Plant, Conesville, OH, died 3/1/2021      

Joseph Vipperman, 80, AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, died 1/23/2021      

Gary Wells, 73, Muskingum River, Waterford, OH, died 2/10/2021      

Roger Curtiss, 72, Fostoria Office Building, Fostoria, OH, died 2/7/2021      

Daniel Leibengood, 72, Fostoria Service Center, Fostoria, OH, died 1/7/2021      

Donn Pumpa, 73, Gavin, Cheshire, OH, died 1/24/2021      

David Thurston, 74, AEPOH 700 Bldg Gahanna, Gahanna, OH, died 3/5/2021      

Daniel Lindesmith, 78, 825 Tech Center Bldg, Gahanna, OH, died 1/15/2021      

William Greer, 74, Mound St Svc Ctr, Columbus, OH, died 1/24/2021      

James Hemphill, 76, AEPOH 700 Bldg Gahanna, Gahanna, OH, died 3/8/2021      

Margaret Sparks, 79, Central Operations Center, Groveport, OH, died 3/4/2021      

Lorraine Summer, 79, Canton Estrn Reg Ofc, Canton, OH, died 2/3/2021      

Patricia Stainer, 81, 850 Tech Center Bldg, Gahanna, OH, died 1/28/2021      

Roberto Duro, 82, AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, died 1/15/2021      

Richard Hering, 87, AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, died 2/24/2021      

William Carl, 77, Picway Plant, Lockbourne, OH, died 1/30/2021      

Donald Overfield, 89, Lancaster Office Bldg, Lancaster, OH, died 12/28/2020      

Jesse Crutchfield, 81, Central Operations Center, Groveport, OH, died 1/7/2021      

Jacob Williams, 94, AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, died 1/28/2021      

Virginia Woessner, 93, Canton Estrn Reg Ofc, Canton, OH, died 1/16/2021      

George Vaughan, 89, 850 Tech Center Bldg, Gahanna, OH, died 2/1/2021      

Robert Hartman, 88, 850 Tech Center Bldg, Gahanna, OH, died 2/10/2021      

Gerald Frey, 83, AEPOH 700 Bldg Gahanna, Gahanna, OH, died 2/2/2021      

Shirley Beck, 83, Conesville Plant, Conesville, OH, died 1/16/2021      

Jack Welsch, 92, Belmont Ofc & Svc Bldg, St. Clairsville, OH, died 1/26/2021      

Hugh McCoy, 88, Findlay Service Center, Findlay, OH, died 1/1/2021      

George Dumm, 91, Van Wert Office Bldg, Van Wert, OH, died 2/15/2021      

Samuel Burkhart, 88, Belmont Ofc & Svc Bldg, St. Clairsville, OH, died 1/27/2021      

Joe Bryan, 94, Belmont Ofc & Svc Bldg, St. Clairsville, OH, died 2/16/2021      

Martha Almack, 82, Conesville Prep Plant, Conesville, OH, died 1/6/2021      

Larry Greene, 80, Steubenville Service Center, Steubenville, OH, died 2/2/2021      

Thomas McDonald, 84, Athens Ofc & Svc Center, Athens, OH, died 2/11/2021      

James Rice, 83, Lima Service Center, Lima, OH, died 3/8/2021      

William Corbitt, 97, AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, died 1/28/2021      

Barbara Meyer, 84, Canton Estrn Reg Ofc, Canton, OH, died 12/28/2020      

James Farrell, 89, Conesville Plant, Conesville, OH, died 1/26/2021      

Donald Pilcher, 89, Canton Estrn Reg Ofc, Canton, OH, died 1/24/2021      

Howard Stebelton, 98, Picway Plant, Lockbourne, OH, died 12/31/2020      

John Whitmyer, 88, AEP Headquarters, Columbus, OH, died 1/27/2021      

William Abel, 82, Canton General Svc Ctr, Canton, OH, died 1/14/2021      

Barbara Myers, 78, West.Ohio Reg.Acct.Mtc.Office, Findlay, OH, died 1/22/2021      

Elden Williard, 94, Conesville Plant, Conesville, OH, died 1/12/2021      

William Fisher, 88, 850 Tech Center Bldg, Gahanna, OH, died 1/25/2021      

Blaine Weinstock, 83, Muskingum River, Waterford, OH, died 2/20/2021      

James Montgomery, 87, Portsmouth Svc Ctr, Portsmouth, OH, died 2/3/2021      

Paul Pollard, 84, Chillicothe Office, Chillicothe, OH, died 1/31/2021      

Robert Simmons, 83, Wellston Ofc&Svc Ctr, Wellston, OH, died 12/28/2020      

Wilbur Riggs, 97, Athens Ofc & Svc Center, Athens, OH, died 1/8/2021      

Betty Wolf, 90, Canton Estrn Reg Ofc, Canton, OH, died 1/13/2021      

Richard Hiser, 85, Tiffin Service Center, Tiffin, OH, died 1/23/2021      

Kenneth Bell, 80, Athens Ofc & Svc Center, Athens, OH, died 1/12/2021      

Willard Preston, 93, Lancaster Office Bldg, Lancaster, OH, died 2/25/2021      

Garland Plymale, 91, Gavin, Cheshire, OH, died 2/11/2021      

Delores Adams, 62, Chillicothe Svc Ctr, Chillicothe, OH, died 3/1/2021      

Oklahoma

John Olendorff, 73, Tulsa Square One, Tulsa, OK, died 2/11/2021      

Thomas Carr, 88, Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, died 12/30/2020      

Daisy Clary, 92, Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, died 1/18/2021      

Manley Clements, 101, Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, died 2/23/2021      

Murrel Cowherd, 94, Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, died 2/14/2021      

James Garrett, 93, Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, died 1/7/2021      

Cleo Hobbs, 85, Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, died 2/2/2021      

Evelyn Hopcus, 89, Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, died 2/7/2021      

Wilbert Hunsicker, 90, Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, died 2/22/2021      

Reyneta Garcia, 88, Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, died 1/8/2021      

Jerry Lawrence, 89, Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, died 1/26/2021      

Orvalette Rentie, 86, Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, died 2/17/2021      

William Stearns, 85, Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, died 1/19/2021      

James Taylor, 90, Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, died 1/21/2021      

Sharon Wade, 78, McAlester Operations Center, McAlester, OK, died 1/3/2021      

Billy Weathers, 88, Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, died 3/9/2021      

Roy Rogers, 82, Tulsa General Office, Tulsa, OK, died 3/5/2021      

Texas

Ernesto Atkinson, 94, Home Office-CC, Corpus Christi, TX, died 1/15/2021      

Douglas Curry, 71, West.Div Br.-Uvalde, Uvalde, TX, died 2/18/2021      

Ja Fuller, 98, Home Office-CC, Corpus Christi, TX, died 3/2/2021      

Angel Flores, 89, Home Office-CC, Corpus Christi, TX, died 1/25/2021      

Santiago Gutierrez, 81, Laredo Service Center, Laredo, TX, died 1/21/2021      

S.E. Kelly, 91, Home Office-CC, Corpus Christi, TX, died 2/15/2021      

Bill Smith, 72, Pleasanton Area Office, Pleasanton, TX, died 1/6/2021      

Tommy Whitwell, 79, Home Office-CC, Corpus Christi, TX, died 1/7/2021      

Julius Winter, 83, Home Office-CC, Corpus Christi, TX, died 12/31/2020      

James Smith, 80, Welsh Plant, Pittsburg, TX, died 2/16/2021      

Bobby Tompkins, 75, Pirkey Plant, Hallsville, TX, died 1/11/2021      

William Swafford, 73, Welsh Plant, Pittsburg, TX, died 1/25/2021      

Jack Mobley, 63, Welsh Plant, Pittsburg, TX, died 2/9/2021      

Willie Guerra, 77, Welsh Plant, Pittsburg, TX, died 2/21/2021      

Aubrey Ivey, 94, General Office, Abilene, TX, died 12/31/2020      

Joy Kidd, 88, General Office, Abilene, TX, died 1/18/2021      

D Powers, 77, Lake Pauline Pwr Plt, Quanah, TX, died 12/30/2020      

Edna Baker, 84, General Office, Abilene, TX, died 1/30/2021      

Virginia

George Heartwell, 70, Glen Lyn/Pearisburg Svc Ctr, Glen Lyn, VA, died 1/25/2021      

Robert Williams, 69, Lynchburg Svc Ctr, Lynchburg, VA, died 3/5/2021      

James Atkins, 69, Glade Spring Service Center, Glade Spring, VA, died 1/1/2021      

Bennie Graves, 73, Smith Mountain Hydro, Sandy Level, VA, died 2/6/2021      

Ronnie Kelley, 75, John W. Vaughan Center, Roanoke, VA, died 2/9/2021      

Holley Mutter, 87, John W. Vaughan Center, Roanoke, VA, died 2/6/2021       

Raymond Witt, 96, Lynchburg Office, Lynchburg, VA, died 2/24/2021      

William Clapp, 80, Abingdon Service Ctr, Abingdon, VA, died 2/3/2021      

Claymus Harlowe, 79, Roanoke Main Office, Roanoke, VA, died 2/16/2021      

Glen Shumate, 81, Pulaski Trans Bldg, Pulaski, VA, died 2/8/2021      

West Virginia

Ray England, 65, Amos Plant, Winfield, WV, died 2/2/2021      

Jimmie Dunford, 70, Beckley Service Center, Beckley, WV, died 1/4/2021      

Dennis Harris, 67, Mountaineer Plant, New Haven, WV, died 1/31/2021      

Alvin Warner, 69, Beckley Service Center, Beckley, WV, died 1/12/2021      

David Stout, 73, Sporn Plant, New Haven, WV, died 1/26/2021      

Gary Duffey, 73, Amos Plant, Winfield, WV, died 1/25/2021      

Dianna Hussell, 72, River Trans Division, West Columbia, WV, died 1/19/2021      

Regina Worrels, 74, Kammer, Moundsville, WV, died 12/30/2020      

Robert Hughes, 85, Amos Plant, Winfield, WV, died 2/28/2021      

Charles Hoffman, 75, Sporn Plant, New Haven, WV, died 3/2/2021      

Mary Mash, 83, Bluefield Office, Bluefield, WV, died 1/22/2021      

Oscar Goodnight, 78, Windsor Coal Mine, West Liberty, WV, died 2/19/2021      

James Walls, 84, Logan Service Center, Logan, WV, died 1/7/2021      

Cecil Duncan, 81, Sporn Plant, New Haven, WV, died 1/20/2021      

Pauline Gilkerson, 98, Huntington Office, Huntington, WV, died 1/2/2021      

Ronald Surbaugh, 82, Kanawha River Plant, Glasgow, WV, died 1/31/2021      

William King, 95, Sporn Plant, New Haven, WV, died 2/15/2021      

Theodore Neal, 54, Pt Pleasant Ofc & Svc Ctr, Pt. Pleasant, WV, died 2/1/2021      

Kenneth Colston, 55, Amos Plant, Winfield, WV, died 2/24/2021      

Robert Kinney, 91, died 1/9/2021      

Patricia Millward, 91 , died 1/3/2021      

AEP Releases Climate Scenario Analysis

American Electric Power has released its Climate Scenario Analysis, a report that examines the impacts of climate change on the company’s operations, as well as the potential implications of the transition to a clean energy economy.

In February, AEP announced a new goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, with an interim target to cut emissions 80% from 2000 levels by 2030. AEP plans to add more than 10,000 megawatts (MW) of new renewable resources to its generation portfolio by 2030 and is investing in a smarter, more modern power grid and new energy technologies to help reach these goals.

In the last decade, AEP has retired or sold nearly 13,500 MW of coal-fueled generation and expects to reduce coal capacity by an additional 5,600 MW by 2030, creating opportunities to replace generation with low- or no-carbon resources. The company also is focused on enhancing the electric delivery system to accelerate the adoption of efficient, cost-effective clean energy.

AEP’s Climate Scenario Analysis report is aligned with the Task Force for the Climate-related Financial Disclosure framework and includes three focus areas: transition risk, physical risks and the socio-economic impact of coal plant retirements. The company examined prospective technologies and resources needed to produce a clean energy future, while also assessing potential costs to customers and market response.

“At AEP, we’re committed to making the energy we provide as clean as possible, as fast as we can, all without compromising reliability, affordability, or the security of the electric power system,” said Nick Akins, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Our most recent analysis of climate-related risks and opportunities created new awareness and will inform our strategic planning and decision-making as we go forward.”

AEP modeled two scenarios to assess the transition – standard operations and a faster, more aggressive effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The analysis showed the company is on a path reduce carbon emissions more than 90% by the mid-2030s and provided insights into the steps necessary to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The report also analyzed the physical risks of climate change and explored how fluctuations in temperature, precipitation amounts, increased frequency and intensity of severe weather and other factors caused by climate change could influence both its competitive and regulated operations. AEP’s analysis showed the company’s efforts to invest in infrastructure and improve the reliability and resiliency of the energy grid are essential to overcome the challenges presented by climate change.

The analysis examines the social and economic effects of retiring coal-fired power plants. AEP conducted an economic impact analysis by modeling the hypothetical closure of four active coal units to quantify the effects of a plant retirement on regional employment, labor income and gross domestic product. To help mitigate the impacts of plant closures, AEP will continue providing advanced notice of plant retirements. The company is committed to supporting employees in finding other employment within the company or as they reenter the job market, and working with community leaders to address other aspects of plant retirements.

Learn more about AEP’s efforts to build a clean energy future with its customers.