Just as I predicted, AEP is seeking approval to “recover costs after ice storms.” Anyone who has looked around this area saw hundreds of trees with branches all over the power lines long before the ice storms. Whenever AEP does any repair work, it is always in response to a crisis. When was the last time you remember AEP cutting off the electricity for a time period to cut down trees and trim back vegetative growth during nice weather? When was the last time you remember having the electricity cut off for a period of time because AEP was installing new lines or new transformers during nice weather? I can’t remember that ever happening because they don’t do updates or proactive environmental work during the spring or fall. The only time we see tons of AEP workers (plus hundreds of workers from other states) coming to our area is when there is a crisis and the people are without service for days or weeks while AEP does repairs.
AEP made a $2.2 billion dollar profit in 2020, which was up from the 2019 profits. A good business strategy would be to invest a portion of the profits into new equipment and environmental clearing during the spring and fall. If this was done consistently every year it would decrease and possibly eliminate the service outages of days and weeks during the winter and summer.
AEP should first have to provide evidence of a portion of profits being reinvested in their company for new equipment and technology before they get approval for “cost recovery.” Adding new equipment, technology and clearing vegetation each year would ultimately make the company more profitable without raising the price for the customers.
By the way, this letter is for the executives of AEP. The men and women working the lines during the crisis were wonderful.