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AEP proposes new plan to raise rates to improve power lines, residents express concern

AEP Ohio’s plan would invest $2.2 billion in reliability-focused projects over the six-year term beginning in June 2024.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — AEP Ohio is proposing a new plan to stop the pressure on our power grids this summer. This will avoid the power outages many experienced last summer during excessive heat and powerful storms.

 Last summer, 170,000 people in Ohio went without power for days.

If this plan gets approved, customers will see rates increase and residents are expressing mixed feelings about how much this will help stop the outages.

AEP Ohio’s plan would invest $2.2 billion in reliability-focused projects over the six-year term beginning in June 2024. The company says this plan will help improve aging equipment across the system and help create several energy efficiency programs for residential customers, including programs designed to help low-income customers and a senior discount program that would give qualifying customers a $5 discount off their monthly customer charge. 

They would also be investing more in technology that makes the power grid smarter and more reliable.

If approved as a file, customers would see an average monthly increase of about 2%, or about $4, each year of the ESP term.

Mount Vernon residents say they are concerned over the price hikes, especially with the rising cost of goods and inflation.

"Instead of worrying about the rates, they need to go around and trim up the trees and cut them off the lines, that way if there are any high wind storms, we won't have to experience what we did before,” said resident Jay Sheldon.

"If they raise rates and then we continue to get power outages, that is where we can really get messed up,” said Conner French, a spokesperson for a local store, Bullock’s Drive-Thru.

AEP Ohio President and Chief Operating Officer Marc Reitter issued a statement which can be read here:

"We understand that our customers expect us to provide reliable power, and the proposal we have developed outlines our strategy for electric grid investments that build on the work we are doing today. 

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.”

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