GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis City Commission and American Electric Power met during the commission’s regularly scheduled Tuesday evening meeting to discuss ongoing power programs coming to the area as well as other energy initiatives.
AEP representative Jennifer Wilfong was granted privilege of the floor as she spoke and lead an electronic slide presentation.
“Basically, we never stop trying to improve our customers experience and reach out to communities as well as energizing our employees,” said Wilfong. “We feel that if we are working together as a partnership, greater things will happen in the community and that’s our goal.”
In Ohio, AEP serves 61 of 88 counties and nearly 1,000 communities and roughly 1.5 million customers, said Wilfong.
“Some of things we’ve been investing in every year with millions of dollars that we spend have been regular maintenance and repair, expanding our system and proactive tree trimming,” said Wilfong.
The AEP representative said workers were replacing equipment on lines in an attempt to be proactive in heading off maintenance problems and adding additional line fusing installations to speed up restoration while sectionalizing line fusing in hopes it could be good for isolating an outage to the least number of impacted customers.
“We have a pretty aggressive right-of-way clearing program. We’ve reduced outages by 80 percent since 2010…,” claimed Wilfong. “Here, locally we’ve begun using the aerial song which you may have seen out and about in your communities to try and clear out right-of-ways. In addition, we’re using a company that sprays the right-of-way zones with an herbicide to stop the growth of unwanted forest species and to promote the growth of foliage that’s not going to interfere so much (with power lines). We have an off-road telescoping boom and circular saw that’s called a Jarraff and we’ve begun using that in the area to get to some of those harder to reach locations that would generally require men going from tree to tree with their chainsaws and roping up like a monkey all day on the line.”
Wilfong detailed a variety of energy initiatives the company offers to both businesses, government and residences.
“We’re starting to use smart road technologies and it will take about six years to fully implement,” said Wilfong. “It’s come into play from a GRIDSMART demonstration project we had in Columbus. They have a whole smart city thing going on up there. Some of the things coming with us would be installing smart meters. With Gallipolis, we’ve just finished with just about a thousand smart meter installations throughout the city.”
Wilfong displayed mobile device applications customers could utilize to monitor their energy usage.
Wilfong said that AEP is also looking to electric automobiles and how power stations could affect local areas in the future in travel as well as funding.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.