Monday, November 30, 2009

AEP wins stimulus funding for GridSmart - $75 Million

Source: Business First

The federal government has accepted American Electric Power Company Inc.’s bid for $75 million in stimulus funding, putting the company on track to begin rolling out its $150 million GridSmart initiative next month.
The Columbus-based utility’s AEP Ohio subsidiary on Tuesday afternoon will get word from the U.S. Department of Energy on the funding for GridSmart at a news conference scheduled at the company’s Dolan Technology Center in Groveport. AEP Ohio had applied this summer for stimulus funding aimed at companies that can demonstrate how so-called “smart grid” technology can boost the safety and reliability of energy nationwide through regional projects.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in March cleared AEP to put $54.5 million toward the program and seek federal funding. AEP has said it will finance the remaining $20 million of the project not covered by its own spending or federal funds with the help of corporate partners that include Columbus-based research giant Battelle and General Electric Co. (NYSE:GE).
AEP’s GridSmart project is set to start in northeast Central Ohio next month with the installation of 110,000 “smart meters” at customers’ homes and businesses that allow greater control over use. GridSmart also plans to fund the testing of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and energy-efficient appliances with expectations for more than 500 new jobs created over three years as a result.
Beyond benefits for customers, the program also helps AEP keep in step with new state requirements. Through a comprehensive energy bill passed last year, AEP must cut its energy output by 0.3 percent this year and 0.5 percent in 2010. That cut increases incrementally over the next few decades to hit 22 percent in 2025.
“Not only will this project help us reduce the power that we need to generate, cut emissions and also delay the need to build generation, it will more importantly give customers the tools and information needed to use electricity more efficiently,” AEP Ohio President Joe Hamrock said in a release.
AEP (NYSE:AEP) delivers electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states, including about 1.5 million Ohio customers. The company last year earned $1.38 billion on $14.6 billion in revenue.


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