Member Spotlight: AEP Ohio

About AEP Ohio
Based in Gahanna, Ohio, AEP Ohio is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States. AEP Ohio delivers electricity to nearly 1.5 million customers of AEP’s subsidiary in Ohio, Ohio Power Co. News and information about AEP Ohio can be found at AEPOhio.com.

Optimizing Service to Customers Through New Technologies
AEP Ohio is making significant new investments in the electric grid to provide reliable power while advancing new energy efficient technologies.

Improved reliability is at the heart of the company’s Distribution Automation Circuit Reconfiguration (DACR) initiative. When a tree falls on a line or a car hits a power pole, this new technology will detect a power outage and automatically reroute power, minimizing the number of customers impacted within minutes.

Volt/Var Optimization (VVO) technology is also being implemented to automatically control voltage levels as they pass from the electric grid to homes. This reduces the amount of energy used by lamps, air conditioners, televisions and other household devices that use electricity. When paired with “smart meter” deployments, the technology enables average customer energy savings of up to four percent. The company is deploying nearly 900,000 smart meters over the next two years in addition to the 132,000 in service from a previous demonstration project.

Supporting “Smart Columbus”
In 2016, the city of Columbus, Ohio won a $40 million “Smart City Challenge” grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation and an additional $10 million from Vulcan, Inc. to modernize transportation infrastructure. The goals of the grant are to improve people’s quality of life, drive growth in the economy, provide better access to jobs and ladders of opportunity and enhance safety in the city. As a Smart Columbus project partner, AEP Ohio is fostering sustainability through incentivizing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, implementing one or more microgrids and investigating smart infrastructure technologies such as networked lighted controls and other power-related improvements.

The EV initiative creates an incentive program for the hardware, network services and installation of charging infrastructure for up to 300 level 2 charging stations and 75 DC Fast charging stations. The program offers incentives for site owners to install charging stations, with 10 percent of the stations to be located in low-income areas to ensure these areas are not left behind.

The company will also be installing one or more microgrids to maintain power in areas where critical public service buildings are located, such as police and fire stations, medical facilities and emergency shelters. By enhancing the resiliency of these critical public services, AEP Ohio will help ensure their continued operation when they are needed most.

Engaging the Customer
All of the new technologies are being showcased to the customers through outreach efforts. Aside from traditional marketing through mail and the website, the company promotes its smart grid technologies at local fairs and community events. Tablet computers are available for customers to utilize an interactive map and learn when a smart meter is coming to their home. Augmented reality walls are set up to look like the inside of a home where customers can focus on strategically placed QR codes to learn more about the company’s energy efficiency programs. And soon, augmented reality goggles will immerse the customer in an interactive experience to help them visualize all of the new technologies from AEP Ohio.

For more information on this SECC member, visit AEPOhio.com or follow them on Twitter and Facebook.