SHREVEPORT, La., November 15, 2004 – AEP Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) will nearly double spending on tree-trimming around power lines to reduce outages and improve reliability, the company and Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell jointly announced.
“Since I took office, I have been concerned about the number of tree-related outages that SWEPCO customers are experiencing,” Campbell said. “It became evident in the community meetings I have been conducting that something needed to be done. This move should help reduce outages.”
SWEPCO President and Chief Operating Officer Nick Akins said the company would spend up to $5 million more in 2005 on its tree-management program than previously planned. The Louisiana Public Service Commission approved the move last week as an amendment to SWEPCO’s Service Quality Improvement Plan on file with the LPSC.
“This outcome demonstrates our ability to work together with the Louisiana Public Service Commission to address the needs of our customers, ” Akins said. “The increase in tree trimming funding of up to $5 million in 2005 alone will allow SWEPCO to clear more lines right away.
“This initiative will improve electric system reliability and allow the company to recover these additional expenses in a future rate review,” Akins said.
The Service Quality Service Improvement Plan was adopted when the LPSC approved the merger of SWEPCO’s then-parent company, Central and South West Corporation, with American Electric Power in July 1999. Before SWEPCO’s additional commitment of up to $5 million, the plan called for the company to spend $5.8 million on tree-trimming in 2005.
SWEPCO is an operating company unit of American Electric Power, a multinational energy company based in Columbus, Ohio. SWEPCO serves over 170,000 customers in Northwest Louisiana. AEP owns and operates more than 36,000 megawatts of generating electricity in the United States and is the nation’s largest electricity generator. AEP is also one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, with more than 5 million customers linked to AEP’s 11-state electricity transmission and distribution grid.