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Room by Room: Home Electrical Safety

powercordElectricity is a safe and reliable form of energy that is used every day to power equipment and appliances in your home. However, it can be dangerous in not treated properly. The following is a checklist of items that you can use throughout your home to help protect your family.

Whole House

Make sure light bulbs are the appropriate wattage for all fixtures.

  • Keep portable heaters and dehumidfiers stable and placed at least three feet from walls and other objects.
  • Cover all outlets with face plates that fit snugly to walls.
  • If small children are present, install covers on all unused outlets.
  • Keep electrical cords away from foot traffic and make sure that they are not covered by rugs or furniture.
  • Do not use extension cords on a permanent basis. Install extra outlets, or move electrical devices closer to outlets.

Kitchen

  • Unplug counter top appliances when not in use.
  • Locate appliance cords where they will not come into contact with a heat source, such as the stove or range.
  • Make sure all kitchen outlets are ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected. GFCIs monitor the current that flows into circuits and shut it off if an imbalance is detected.

Bathrooms

  • Unplug all small appliances when not in use.
  • Never use electrical devices, such as a radios or hair dryers, in or near the bathtub.
  • Install only GFCI outlets in the bathroom.

Bedrooms

  • Avoid drinking water or any other type of liquid when using an electric blanket or heating pad. Do not cover an electric blanket when in use.
  • Make sure electric blankets are in good condition; check for cracks or breaks that may indicate damage.

Basement

  • Keep the electrical panel free from obstructions, and make sure your hands and the floor are dry before touching the panel.
  • Install GFCIs in outlets located near clothes washers or wash tubs, or all over the basement if it is damp.

Outdoors

  • Install protective covers on all outlets and make sure all outlets are GFCIs.
  • Make sure power tools are in good condition and wires are not cracked or frayed.
  • Store power tools indoors to keep them from being damaged by water or excessive heat.
  • Never use power tools or electrical devices near a pond or other wet location.
  • When working outdoors, use only weather-resistant extension cords marked for outdoor use.
  • Power lines may be underground as well. Before digging, call 811 to have utility lines marked.

This list is for informational purposes only and is not meant to supersede any state or local building codes. Contact your state fire marshal or local building inspector for any information regarding code requirements in your area. Remember that common sense and good safety habits are the best protection against electrical hazards.

AEP Ohio Announces the Discovery District Civic Association’s Participation In Community Energy Savers Program

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAEP Ohio and the Discovery District Civic Association (DDCA) are partnering to help residents and businesses reduce energy use and costs through a pilot program called Community Energy Savers.

Community Energy Savers, launched by AEP Ohio, works with communities to encourage residents and businesses to participate in energy efficiency programs offered by AEP Ohio. Not only do community members benefit from saving energy and money in their homes and businesses, their actions also help the community receive incentives from AEP Ohio that can be put towards an improvement project identified by the community.

“AEP Ohio continually seeks to improve the quality of life in the communities where we live and work. That’s why we are enthusiastic about joining with communities in our new Energy Savers program,” said Jon Williams, energy efficiency and consumer programs manager for AEP Ohio. “The program helps to educate residents about our energy-saving programs as well as the many solutions and incentives available for businesses.”

Working with the Discovery District, AEP Ohio has established a goal of 100 participants by June 30. If this goal is reached in time, AEP Ohio will provide funding to complete an energy efficiency project in the District and sponsor a green event for the community. In addition, the Discovery District is currently working with the city of Columbus to receive certification as a GreenSpot Neighborhood. By participating in Energy Savers, community members can help the Discovery District with both of these initiatives and demonstrate the neighborhood’s commitment to sustainable practices.

“Participating in Energy Savers is a great way for the District’s residents and businesses to learn more about energy efficiency and the incentives available through AEP Ohio that will save customers money on their bottom line,” says Harlan Schottenstein, president of the DDCA. “In addition, the Energy Savers pilot program will also help the Discovery District be the first to receive the GreenSpot Neighborhood certification through the city of Columbus.”

Customers of AEP Ohio located in the Discovery District can participate in Energy Savers in a variety of ways – regardless of whether they purchase their generation from AEP Ohio or from an alternative retail electric supplier.

For instance, customers can recycle their old, inefficient refrigerators through the Appliance Recycling program and receive a $50 incentive check plus free pickup. Customers also can schedule an assessment with the In-home Energy program to identify and correct areas in their homes where they may be wasting energy. Technical support and financial incentives are also available to help business customers that install energy efficient equipment and technologies.

To learn more about how to participate and help the Discovery District, visit EnergySavers2014.com.

Visit AEPOhio.com/WasteLess for information about AEP Ohio’s energy efficiency programs for residents. For information about energy efficiency programs for businesses, visit AEPOhio.com/Solutions.

AEP Ohio releases first Year-End Report

We are AEP OhioWe are proud to release AEP Ohio’s 2013 Year-End Report. The digital report highlights how we are working to keep the lights on across the state and more, while providing the best possible service to our customers.

Here are just a few facts:

  • Since 2009, we’ve invested more than $1.1 billion to keep our service territory shining brightly.
  • On average, customers experienced fewer outages during normal day-to-day operations in 2013 through equipment upgrades, and tree and vegetation removal.
  • 2013 marked the fifth year of programs that helped our customers reduce their energy bills, saving them more than $1 billion and more than 2.2 million MWh — that’s enough electricity to power every home in Chillicothe, Gahanna, Lima, Newark, Waverly, Wellston and Wooster for 10 years.
  • Also in 2013, working with communities and economic development allies, we helped 15 companies to expand or locate their business in our service territory, securing more than 1,100 jobs and providing $500 million in new investment to aid business location and expansion.

In the Year-End Report, hear from our President and Chief Operating Officer Pablo Vegas, and learn about our transition to a “wires-only” company and how we are proposing the best smart grid technologies to help customers gain control of energy use, save money and reduce consumption.

Also, find out how we’re powering local economies, recharging the communities where we live and serve, and working with our legislators and regulators. This is the first time we have issued a report of this kind to the people that matter most, our customers. Check us out and share your thoughts in the comments section below or catch us on Facebook at facebook.com/AEPOhio  or AEP Ohio’s Twitter weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

In the words of Pablo Vegas: “All of us at AEP Ohio are proud of our work to provide efficient and reliable energy — we are committed to keeping Ohio shining brightly.”

AEP to use helicopters to install transmission line in central Ohio

helicopterIt’s a bird, it’s a plane … no, it’s actually AEP contract crews who will be working March  3 through May 30 from a helicopter and standing on transmission towers to string new power lines to improve reliability in central Ohio.

Watch this video to see crews installing wire and equipment from approximately 165 feet in the air on a 10-mile stretch of towers. This work will bring improved electric service to the City of Dublin and Washington Township in Franklin County, Jerome Township in Union County, and Concord and Liberty townships in Delaware County. http://youtu.be/hHyDQs0RiAY

And here are a few answers to questions you might have about AEP Ohio using aerial construction.

Why is AEP using helicopters to access the structures for this work?The existing line is generally inaccessible by trucks and other ground equipment.
Aerial construction in inaccessible and difficult-to-reach locations minimizes environmental impacts and the potential for property damage. It also reduces traffic congestion in the area and significantly shortens the time it takes to complete a project.

How does AEP use helicopters for projects and what kinds of projects are suitable for such work?AEP uses helicopters daily to inspect its transmission and distribution lines for needed maintenance, and to perform construction and maintenance activities, such as equipment replacement and tree clearance near lines.

AEP uses helicopters to access structures that generally are inaccessible by trucks and other ground equipment.

Is this the first time helicopters are being used for such work in Ohio? AEP has been using helicopters for aerial construction in Ohio, including the Columbus area, for the last 10 years.
Where can I find more information about the project?

More information about the project can be found on www.aeptransmission.com/ohio/. Click on Letters of Notification and scroll to the links for the Hayden-Hyatt 345-kV project.

Need help paying your electric bill this winter? Check out AEP Ohio’s Payment Assistance Plans

piggy bank and dolar billsThis winter, Mother Nature has pounded Ohio with one of the coldest and snowiest seasons we have experienced in a while. Recognizing freezing temperatures generally require more energy use, AEP Ohio wants to help customers who may be struggling to pay their electric bills.

Through the Neighbor to Neighbor Program, administered by the Dollar Energy Fund, one of the largest hardship funds in the United States, income-eligible AEP Ohio customers in need are able to receive a utility assistance grant that is applied directly to their electric bill to help them maintain or restore electric service.

Now through April 30, AEP Ohio has implemented changes that will help make it easier for customers to participate in the program.

Who is eligible?

AEP Ohio customers whose income is at or below 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines are eligible for the program. In addition, customers must have made a sincere effort of payment on their bill in the last 90 days; however, AEP Ohio is reducing the minimum of $150 to $75.

The minimum payment amount will be waived for senior citizens, veterans and active military (with proof) as well as customers with a special code on their AEP Ohio account verifying that they are on life support.

Instead of the minimum balance of $100 required on customers’ accounts, the amount has been reduced to $50.

To apply, customers can go to a community-based agency in their areas to complete an application. Customers also can find a participating agency by visiting AEP Ohio’s Neighbor to Neighbor web page. The program will remain available until funding is depleted. Applications will be processed on a first‐come, first‐served basis.

Other Payment Plans

Not eligible for the Neighbor to Neighbor program? AEP Ohio also provides other options.

The Average Monthly Payment Plan helps customers stabilize their electric service costs by billing in level payments. With this plan monthly bills will be more equal and not spike as high in months when it’s very hot or cold.

If you have received a disconnect notice or are unable to pay the required amount before the scheduled date of disconnection, you may be eligible for payment assistance.

AEP Ohio also offers a Budget Billing plan. For information on how to enroll in this or other available payment plans, contact the Customer Operations Center at (800) 672-2231.

Don’t forget to take advantage of AEP Ohio’s energy efficiency programs to save energy and money year round. These programs can help mitigate the impact of higher electricity bills due to usage. See a list of our programs by visiting AEPOhio.com/WasteLess.

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Helping put the lights back on in Georgia and Virginia.

We’ve sent more than 350 employees and contractors to help put the lights back on in Georgia and Virginia.

We’re part of a group of power companies who agree to help one another when in need, usually after a significant weather event. It’s called Mutual Assistance. Why is Mutual Assistance important?

AEP Ohio trucks arrive in Virginia

AEP Ohio trucks arrive in Virginia

It gets the lights back on faster. The number of people it takes to restore power after a major storm far exceeds the needs of a utility’s day to day operations. Depending on the storm’s destruction, like today’s ice storm in the south, or the Derecho we experienced a few years back, it often takes many hundreds, or even thousands of line mechanics, tree crews and support folks to bring the lights back on.

Sometimes we need the help; other times we go to help others. Today we return the favor and go to help others. Line mechanics are committed to getting the power back on, no matter who needs the help. It’s what they do, it’s who they are. Thanks to all those who will work tirelessly in the days ahead to get the lights back on.

AEP Ohio Thanks Customers for Patience

customer-thankyouAEP Ohio wishes to thank its customers for their patience and understanding during the ice storm that moved across the state Tuesday night through Wednesday morning.

At the peak of the storm 8,929 customers were out of power across AEP Ohio. We understand the frustration families and businesses experience during power outages, and we remain dedicated to providing safe, reliable electric service.

As crews wrap up restoration, the company also thanks its employees, especially crews and contractors who were faced with difficult locations and treacherous, icy walking surfaces and roads. Your commitment to restoring power to our customers during these severe weather conditions is much appreciated.

If you are still experiencing an outage, please let us know by contacting our Customer Operations Center at 1-800-672-2231, or by entering the information on our website at AEPOhio.com. Customers can also report an outage via mobile devices at AEPOhio.com/mobile.

Once again, we gratefully acknowledge your patience during this this time.

AEP Ohio announces city of Louisville’s participation in Community Energy Savers Program

AEP Ohio and the city of Louisville are partnering to help residents and businesses reduce energy use and costs through a pilot program called Community Energy Savers.

Community Energy Savers, launched by AEP Ohio, works with communities to encourage residents and businesses to participate in energy efficiency programs offered by AEP Ohio.

Not only do community members benefit from saving energy and money in their homes and businesses, their actions also help the community receive incentives from AEP Ohio that can be put towards an improvement project identified by the community.

“AEP Ohio continually seeks to improve the quality of life in the communities where we live and work. That’s why we are enthusiastic about joining with communities in our new Energy Savers program,” said Jon Williams, energy efficiency and consumer programs manager for AEP Ohio. “The program helps to educate residents about our energy-saving programs as well as the many solutions and incentives available for businesses.”

Mayor Patricia Fallot will announce the city of Louisville’s participation in the AEP Ohio Community Energy Savers pilot program during a press conference tonight at 7 p.m. at the Constitution Center, 1022 West Main Street in Louisville.

Working with the city of Louisville, AEP Ohio has established a goal of 300 participants by June 30. If this goal is reached in time, Louisville, the second community to participate in the Energy Savers program, will use the incentive award from AEP Ohio towards completion of energy efficiency lighting upgrades at the YMCA and the old Post Office. Improvements to these buildings will reduce energy and costs, and will also enhance the quality of lighting for Louisville residents that use the facilities.

“The Energy Savers pilot program is a great way for Louisville residents and businesses to learn more about energy efficiency and the incentives available through AEP Ohio,” says Patricia Fallot, Mayor of Louisville. “We know our town can reach the participation goal and look forward to using the award funds towards the completion of energy efficiency upgrades at the YMCA and Old Post Office.”

Customers of AEP Ohio who reside in Louisville can participate in Energy Savers in a variety of ways – regardless of whether they purchase their generation from AEP Ohio or from an alternative retail electric supplier.

For instance, customers can recycle their old, inefficient refrigerators through the Appliance Recycling program and receive a $50 incentive check plus free pickup. Customers also can schedule an assessment with the In-home Energy program to identify and correct areas in their homes where they may be wasting energy. Technical support and financial incentives are also available for business customers that install energy efficient equipment and technologies.

To learn more about how to participate and help your community, visit EnergySavers2014.com.

Visit AEPOhio.com/WasteLess for information about AEP Ohio’s energy efficiency programs for residents. For information about energy efficiency programs for businesses, visit AEPOhio.com/Solutions.

AEP OHIO LAUNCHES COMMUNITY ENERGY SAVERS PROGRAM

City of Lima kicks-off pilot program to help residents and businesses become more energy efficient

AEP Ohio and the city of Lima are partnering to help residents and businesses reduce energy use and costs through a pilot program called Community Energy Savers.

Community Energy Savers, launched by AEP Ohio, works with communities to encourage residents and businesses to participate in energy efficiency programs offered by AEP Ohio.

Not only do community members benefit from saving energy and money in their homes and businesses, their actions also help the community receive incentives from AEP Ohio that can be put towards an improvement project identified by the community.

“AEP Ohio continually seeks to improve the quality of life in the communities where we live and work. That’s why we are enthusiastic about joining with communities in our new Energy Savers program,” said Jon Williams, energy efficiency and consumer programs manager for AEP Ohio. “The program helps to educate residents about our energy-saving programs as well as the many solutions and incentives available for businesses.”

Mayor David J. Berger will announce the city of Lima’s participation in the AEP Ohio Community Energy Savers pilot program during a press conference today at 10:30 a.m. in the council chambers of the Municipal Building at 50 Town Square in Lima.

Working with the city of Lima, AEP Ohio has established a goal of 750 participants by June 30. If this goal is reached in time, Lima, the first community to participate in the Energy Savers program, will use the incentive award from AEP Ohio to complete energy efficiency lighting upgrades at Simmons Field, home of the Lima Locos and other areas baseball teams. Improvements to Simmons Field will help the city of Lima reduce annual energy costs and make the field better for players and fans.

“We are excited to partner with AEP Ohio on Lima Energy Savers and help our residents and businesses become more energy efficient,” says Howard Elstro,
director of Public Works for the city of Lima. “In addition, we look forward to the opportunity to improve the lighting quality and efficiency at Simmons Field for continued use by the Locos, other regional baseball teams and all of the fans.”

Lima residents who are customers of AEP Ohio, and who receive their generation supply from a different electric generation service provider or AEP Ohio, can participate in Energy Savers in a variety of ways. For instance, customers can recycle their old, inefficient refrigerators through the Appliance Recycling program and receive a $50 incentive check plus free pickup. Customers also can schedule an assessment with the In-home Energy program to identify and correct areas in their homes where they may be wasting energy. Technical support and financial incentives are also available for business customers that install energy efficient equipment and technologies.

To learn more about how to participate and help your community, visit EnergySavers2014.com.

Visit AEPOhio.com/WasteLess for information about AEP Ohio’s energy efficiency programs for residents. For information about energy efficiency programs for businesses, visit AEPOhio.com/Solutions.

AEP Ohio urges electric conservation Tuesday

AEP Ohio is urging customers to conserve electricity this week as more frigid temperatures descend upon the region.

Prompted by the extreme cold forecast, PJM Interconnection, the electricity grid operator for more than 61 million people in 13 states and the District of Columbia, requested Monday that customers of all of its member utilities — including AEP Ohio — conserve electricity Tuesday.

The wave of frigid weather is expected to push up demand for electricity to potentially record-breaking levels, straining the capacity of the nation’s power grid. Using energy efficiently will help ensure that adequate supplies of electricity are available to all.

The demand for electricity and the need for conservation are expected to be highest Tuesday. AEP Ohio asks consumers to conserve electricity, if health permits — especially from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Tuesday as well as between 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Simple ways to conserve electricity and stay warm include:

–Set thermostats as low as appropriate to maintain health and comfort.
–Postpone using major electric appliances, such as stoves, dishwashers and clothes dryers until mid-day or after 9 p.m., when the demand for electricity decreases.
–Turn off electric lights and appliances that you do not need or are not using.
–Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible, including overhead doors on attached garages.
–Seal offOpen curtains on the sunny side of the house to warm up your home. No sun? Close the shades to keep warm air in.
–Unless it is equipped specifically for home heating, use fireplaces sparingly. Warm air escapes through the chimney so close the damper when not in use.
–Cover hot water pipes with an insulating jacket and set the water heater to between 120 and 130 degrees.

AEP Ohio also encourages consumers to keep safety in mind when heating their homes:

–Take extreme care when using space heaters. Place at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including walls, and unplug it before leaving the room.
–Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
–If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks or rolling logs.
–Use generators correctly – never operate one inside your home, including the basement or garage.
–Guard against carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and that their batteries are fresh.
–Prevent your pipes from freezing by running a constant trickle of water. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.

Take advantage of our energy efficiency programs and save energy and money year round. See a list of our program by visiting AEPOhio.com/WasteLess. These actions not only will help customers conserve energy, but also will help mitigate the impact of higher electricity bills due to usage.

AEP Ohio has lineman ready to respond should electric service be impacted throughout its territory. If an outage occurs, please call 1-800-672-2231 or click the “Report an Outage” link at AEPOhio.com. The status of outages also can be checked by clicking the “Check an Outage Status” link on the website.

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