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February 05, 2021
AEP Recognized for Mutual Aid Response Efforts
AEP operating companies were recently recognized by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) for mutual assistance response efforts during 2020. The award recognizes EEI member companies who aid other companies after a storm or significant outage event, helping repair damaged facilities and restore service to customers. EEI announced the recognition during their Winter Board and CEO meeting.
“In the utility industry, needing mutual aid is not a matter of ‘if,’ but a matter of ‘when,’” said Malcolm Smoak, president and COO of Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO). “After Hurricane Laura, 3,500 workers from our sister operating companies and other utilities, representing 15 states and Canada, helped SWEPCO employees get the lights back on for our customers. In turn, we provide resources to other utilities during their significant restoration events. On each storm run, our crews will work long hours in difficult conditions to get the power restored.”
In addition to Hurricane Laura, which hit much of SWEPCO’s territory with hurricane force winds, operating companies deployed employees and line and forestry contractors to 17 mutual assistance events. The following events are examples of the resources AEP provided to other utilities in 2020.
- August - Hurricane Isaias: 1,230 employees
- September - Hurricane Sally: 1,240 employees
- October - Hurricanes Zeta and Delta: 920 employees
In total, AEP sent more than 4,500 employees and contractors in response to storm events in 2020. AEP’s ability to assist in these restoration events is made possible by dedicated employees that help with the coordination of sending resources and those that remain home, helping to keep up with outages and service work.
While the award recognizes the support AEP gives to other utility companies, AEP’s operating companies also regularly support each other during outage events. In 2020, our operating companies provided this valuable support at least 15 times, for an average of 6 days per restoration event.
“In a year marked by multiple hurricanes and a global pandemic, we are grateful that our employees are always willing to go above and beyond to help others during a time of need,” said Lisa Barton, executive vice president and chief operating officer of AEP. “Restoring service is critical for communities rebuilding after a storm. Our employees continue to demonstrate day in and day out their commitment to keeping the lights on, keeping each other safe and going the extra mile to lend their talents to other companies. I am extremely proud of their dedication.”
AEP is a member of EEI and one of just 30 companies to receive this recognition in 2020.