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AEP Leads National Discussion on Technology Innovation

by on July 28, 2016
Leaders from energy companies and technology partners gathered at AEP’s headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, recently to discuss power grid innovations. Photo by Sarah Hunyadi.

(Story by Shanelle Hinkle-Moore)

“AEP is collaborating to modernize a complex system in a way that’s reliable, simple for customers to use and affordable.”

These are the words Phil Dion, vice president, Technology Business Development, used to describe AEP’s leadership in the Institute for Electric Innovation (IEI) National Dialogue Series.

AEP recently hosted one of IEI’s national discussions in Columbus, Ohio.

Dion co-moderated the open-dialogue exchange, which consisted of leaders and experts from energy companies and technology partners, with Lisa Wood, IEI’s executive director and executive vice president.

Bob Powers, AEP executive vice president and chief operating officer, kicked off the event with a welcome and opening remarks. Other AEP leaders who engaged in the discussion included Tom Kirkpatrick, vice president, Customer Services, Marketing and Distribution Services; and Tom Weaver, Distribution Systems Planning manager.

The roundtable’s purpose was to share best practices, innovations, and overcoming challenges to building a smarter and integrated power grid. A special focus was given to adapting technology which makes the system more segmented, which will make it more complex to manage.

There was a significant discussion about the costs of integration. Powers provided an example using his analog watch. Despite the timepiece’s inability to measure to the picosecond, it’s an effective tool and more affordable than other options. He advised, while new technologies may be attractive, the group must strive to apply technologies that are cost effective to customers.

Meeting attendees shared their perspectives on a variety of topics, including:

  • Digital Grid Platform — Where are we today.
  • Operating on the Grid Edge — Distributed energy resource integration and management.
  • Digital Grid of the Future — What a fully integrated digital power grid may look like in 2022, the value opportunities, and barriers to moving forward.


The meeting was IEI’s first of three national dialogues on energy technology related topics. Future topics will include data analytics and access, and a clean energy future through partnerships.

Following the event, IEI representatives met with AEP’s Technology Council for further insight and conversation.

Why it’s important
AEP is committed to success as a next generation energy company. Hosting this forum is an example of how AEP actively engages to improve business and collaborate across the energy industry and with technology partners. Building a smarter energy infrastructure will help provide enhanced service and reliability. These efficiencies and innovative programs will help our customers save resources and money.

More about IEI
IEI’s purpose is to advance the adoption and application of new technologies to strengthen and transform the power grid. IEI’s members are investor-owned electric companies that represent nearly 70 percent of the U.S. electric power industry.

From → News From AEP

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