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American Electric Power Ohio Receives PUCO Approval to Expand Smart Grid Across Service Territory

  • Dec 2, 2021
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GAHANNA, Ohio, Dec. 2 -- AEP Ohio, an American Electric Power company, issued the following news release on Dec. 1, 2021:

AEP Ohio, an American Electric Power (Nasdaq: AEP) company, today received approval from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to move forward with the third phase of its grid modernization plan. Today's settlement will allow AEP Ohio to bring advanced smart grid technologies including smart meters, customer access to real-time energy usage data, and distribution system reliability enhancements throughout its service territory.

AEP Ohio will invest more than $220 million over the next seven years in smart grid equipment in the rural areas of its service territory under the approved plan. This expansion will ensure that all AEP Ohio customers benefit from smart grid technologies. The average residential customer using 1,000-kilowatt hours of electricity per month will see an average increase of $0.33 per month for the program.

"We have been building our smart grid network for almost a decade and we are excited to expand these technologies to all of our customers," said Marc Reitter, AEP Ohio president and chief operating officer. "Smart technologies allow the men and women at AEP Ohio to deliver more reliable power, give our customers more information about their energy use and saves them money."

Under this plan, AEP Ohio will install approximately 475,000 additional smart meters across the state. More than 900,000 smart meters have already been installed under phases 1 and 2 of the smart grid program. Smart meters provide many benefits to customers, including detailed energy usage information and the ability to detect and report outage information to AEP Ohio.

The plan also includes the installation of other proven smart grid technologies that have shown their value in previous phases. These include Volt Var Optimization, which automatically monitors and controls the voltage levels on a distribution circuit, reducing customers' energy consumption on that circuit. The result is automatic energy savings.

Customers will also be eligible for energy-savings programs, including a rebate for the installation of a qualifying smart thermostat. Additional customer programs, like time of use rates will also become more impactful under the program. AEP Ohio will contribute $250,000 to its Neighbor to Neighbor program which helps qualifying AEP Ohio customers pay their electric bill. Additional customer contributions are matched dollar-for-dollar by AEP Ohio.

AEP Ohio in October filed a settlement in the case in which all interested parties offered their unanimous support or agreed not to oppose the plan. Parties to the settlement included PUCO staff, the Ohio Consumers' Counsel, industrial user groups, the Ohio Hospital Association, competitive retail electric suppliers, the Smart Thermostat Coalition and Mission:data.

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