AEP to increase focus on implementing transmission projects in 2012

American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) said Dec. 13 it is making organizational and leadership changes to focus its transmission business unit on implementing transmission projects in the company’s 11-state footprint, increasing investments to improve transmission infrastructure, and continuing to develop joint venture projects outside the company’s service territory.

The changes will be effective January 2012.

“We’ve been developing seven wholly owned transmission companies, or transcos, to focus on transmission investment within our traditional utility footprint in 11 states,” an AEP spokesperson told TransmissionHub.

The reason for forming the transmission companies largely involves financing. Working through transcos allows AEP to finance separately the transmission projects. Investing in transmission through the transcos also allows for efficient recovery of investment in transmission through FERC formula rates, the spokesperson added.

“Those [investments] are being done through our transmission companies,” the spokesperson said. “We’ve filed in each of those states for approval to operate as a transmission company.”

Those states are Ohio, Arkansas, West Virginia, Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky and Louisiana. Michigan and Oklahoma did not require state filings.

“We received approval for our Ohio transmission company in late 2009,” the spokesperson said. “We’re hoping to have decisions in West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana this year. In Arkansas, Louisiana and Virginia, those decisions will likely extend into 2012.”

Projects include the Pioneer Transmission effort with Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) in Indiana; the RITELine, which is a joint venture with Exelon (NYSE:EXC) and Electric Transmission America, a joint venture of AEP and a MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company subsidiary; and Prairie Wind Transmission in Kansas with Electric Transmission America and Westar Energy (NYSE:WR). “We also are investing in transmission in Texas through our Electric Transmission Texas joint venture with MidAmerican,” the spokesperson said.

According to AEP, Michael Heyeck, senior vice president of transmission, will be responsible for ensuring that the transmission needs of AEP’s operating companies and wholesale customers are integrated into transmission business planning. He will also serve as president of Electric Transmission America. Additionally, he will continue to oversee Electric Transmission Texas and have responsibility for region operations and compliance for AEP’s 11-state transmission system. Heyeck will continue to report to Lisa Barton, executive vice president – AEP Transmission, with a new indirect reporting relationship to Robert Powers, AEP executive vice president and COO.

Scott Smith was named senior vice president of transmission strategy and business operations, responsible for transmission planning, real-time operations, technology, financial reporting, business development and strategic initiatives, process improvement and performance management, AEP said.

Scott Moore, vice president of transmission engineering and project services, is responsible for leading transmission project management, construction management and engineering.

AEP also said that Robert Bradish was promoted to vice president of grid development and will be responsible for transmission planning, real-time operations and technology development.

“Much of the investment in the transmission system was made decades ago,” AEP President and CEO Nicholas K. Akins said in the statement. “We believe that now is the time to re-invest in the system to ensure we can continue providing reliable, efficient transmission service to our customers while we pursue transmission growth opportunities inside and outside of AEP’s service territory. This realignment of our transmission business will help us improve the system, advance our leadership in the industry and deliver earnings growth through transmission projects.”

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3286 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares was TransmissionHub’s chief editor until August 2021, as well as part of the team that established TransmissionHub in 2011. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial from 2005 to 2011. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines.