(WOWK) — On Friday, AEP Ohio filed an Electric Security Plan (ESP) application with the Public Utilities Commission to help make service more reliable and offer customers programs that will reduce energy use and save money.
If approved, AEP Ohio’s plan would invest $2.2 billion in improvement projects over a six-year ESP term.
The power company said aging power system equipment will reach the end of its expected life within the next 10 years. A portion of the funds would go into upgrading, redesigning, and rebuilding how power flows through the system. This includes 350 transformers, 475 breakers and 560 regulators in substations across Ohio. AEP Ohio said also it pinpointed 247 circuits where customers experienced five or more outages per year over the last three years.
AEP Ohio said its ESP also proposes various energy efficiency programs for residential and lower-income customers, plus a $5 monthly discount for customers 65 years and over. In addition, AEP Ohio said it would offer incentives to residential customers who own electric vehicles and agree to charge up during periods of lower power demand.
A Community Resiliency Pilot program would test a backup generator that could help when large powerlines cannot bring electricity to an area, especially vulnerable rural and urban communities, according to AEP Ohio.
Lastly, AEP Ohio is proposing to offer its fiber optic network to internet providers in areas with little or no internet access. Federal grants or payments from internet providers would be “credited to AEP Ohio customers,” the electricity company said.
AEP Ohio said the plan is being proposed in an effort to continue distribution grid maintenance and upgrades needed to meet customers’ evolving needs. If the filed proposal is approved, customers would see an average 2% monthly increase (about $4) each year.
“Our plan focuses on meeting our customers’ expectations. We have already invested in reliability improvements and that work is producing benefits for customers. But we need to do more focused work and we need to do it more quickly as we plan for rapid economic growth, increasing customer expectations and hardening the grid to withstand stronger storms. More than 5,500 miles of power lines and hundreds of pieces of substation equipment will be replaced under the proposal. We understand the electric service we provide is essential in our customers’ lives, and we believe the planned investment under our proposal will deliver significant benefits.”Marc Reitter, AEP Ohio president and chief operating officer.