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JUST IN: After 110 years, Dayton Power & Light to become AES Ohio

Source: 
Dayton Daily News

Feb. 24—After 110 years as Dayton Power & Light, the Dayton area's electric utility is changing its name.

The utility will be known going forward as "AES Ohio," reflecting AES Corp.'s own recent rebranding.

"I think this will be a gradual process for our customers," Kristina Lund, AES Ohio president, told the Dayton Daily News in an interview. "We know it will take our customers and our community some time to really start to use the AES Ohio name. And that's normal. Even the process of rolling this out is going to be gradual."

The name change has been discussed with elected officials and local leaders, said Lund and Brandi Davis-Handy, chief public relations officer for U.S. operations at AES.

"Overall, the sentiment (among local officials) has been positive," Davis-Handy said.

Customers will see the name change on company websites Wednesday. Then, over time, on company uniforms and vehicles.

By May and beyond, the change should also be reflected on bills. The name customers will see is AES Ohio.

"DP&L has a century of providing reliable, cost-effective and safe energy for our customers in Dayton and the Miami Valley," Lund said. "This commitment to our customers will not change. But we are changing the name because technology and innovation are creating important changes and opportunities for our customers."

"The new name, AES Ohio, signals where we are headed as a company," Lund added.

Arlington, Va.-based AES Corp. acquired DPL Inc. in 2011 in a $4.7 billion deal. DP&L Co. is a subsidiary of DPL Inc., and at the time, provisions were in place to preserve DP&L's name and its local headquarters presence. Lund was named president and CEO of what was then DP&L in October 2020.

AES has been DP&L's corporate owner since then, and the company is no longer new to Dayton-area customers, said Davis-Handy.

"This is a decision that absolutely was not made overnight," she said.

The renamed company will remain based in Dayton, and employee headcount at the MacGregor Park headquarters will not be reduced, AES Ohio officials said.

If anything, with the opening of the AES Smart Operations Center — a digital control center overseeing AES power generation equipment — opening later this year in Dayton, there may be room for growth, said Mary Ann Kabel, an AES Ohio spokeswoman.

"Really what we're doing at the smart operations center is using data analytics and digital technologies to drive performance of our generation portfolio across the U.S. and internationally," Lund said.

The center is meant to be a digital hub, using data to increase the efficiency of its AES electric operations across the US.

"AES Ohio earned the new Smart Operations Center in Dayton after competing with locations inside and outside of the U.S," said Chris Kershner, president and chief executive of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce. "AES, a global company, is investing in Dayton."

"DP&L, now AES Ohio, has a deep history in Dayton and a strong commitment the region," said Jeff Hoagland, president and chief executive of the Dayton Development Coalition. "A new name doesn't change that."

"The heart of AES Ohio remains committed to the community, and will continue to be a steadfast partner in economic development," Hoagland added. "The establishment of their Smart Operations Center at MacGregor Park will serve as a national hub for AES' efforts for the digital transformation of the energy industry, accelerating a safer and cleaner energy future in the United States and globally. We will continue to work with AES as they bring new investment into our community to ensure we can meet the energy needs of our businesses."

The legal entity names will not change, Lund said. AES Ohio is the principal subsidiary of DPL Inc., a name which will continue to be used in regulatory filings, for example.

The company is also still pursuing regulatory approval of a "smart grid" in Ohio, technology which company leaders believe will modernize the distribution grid with smart meters and automated circuitry meant to lower operating costs and improve reliability.

DP&L has the lowest-cost residential rates among investor-owned utilities in Ohio, Lund said.

"We're in a moment where we can apply new technologies to serve our customers in new ways," she said.

Interested parties are filing arguments now on the smart grid proposal before state regulators. After final arguments are filed before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in early March, the case will be ripe for a commission decision, but there is no precise timeline for a vote, a PUCO spokesman said.

Similarly, Indianapolis Power & Light will also become AES Indiana, AES Ohio officials said.

AES Ohio serves more than 527,000 customer accounts, representing 1.25 million people in West Central Ohio. The company saw annual revenue in 2018 of $763.3 million. Its service area covers 24 counties within 6,000 square miles.

Electric service first came to Dayton with a power plant and electric street lighting operated by the Dayton Electric Light Co in 1848.

By 1911, the Hills and Dales Railway Co. bought two competing Dayton utilities, bringing all of Dayton's electric service under one roof. It was renamed the Dayton Power and Light Co.

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(c)2021 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

Visit the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio) at www.daytondailynews.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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