1/9/2009
Copper Thieves Take Note -- AEP Ohio Is Replacing Copper Wire With Substitute Product

GAHANNA,  Ohio, Jan. 8, 2009 – The high commodity price being paid for salvaged copper has created a dramatic increase in wire thefts at AEP Ohio, a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP). These thefts and subsequent or related damages to electrical facilities have cost the company millions of dollars.  This expense, combined with customer inconveniences due to related power outages as well as the extreme dangers posed to AEP Ohio employees and the public have pushed the company to implement new wiring standards throughout its operating territory. 
 
In the past, solid copper was the material of choice when it came to electrical wiring and grounding options.  However, AEP Ohio has switched to installing copper-clad materials at its facilities.  Although copper-clad products provide an equal level of functionality and looks very much the same as solid copper wiring - - it is not.   What makes it different from solid copper is its metal content.  Copper-clad wiring is made up of a steel core and copper exterior.  This bi-metallic wiring has no scrap dollar value and is very difficult to cut.
 
“Anyone who survives the act of stealing metal from AEP Ohio facilities will be sorely disappointed when they try to capitalize on their heist,” said Daniel Recker, director transmission region operations.  “Scrap dealers are well aware of the metallic differences between copper and copper-clad.  Would-be thieves are warned that stealing equipment from AEP Ohio facilities is very dangerous and could cost them their lives.” 
 
AEP Ohio’s switch to copper-clad ground rods and wiring was a direct result of the copper theft epidemic.  The company is also deploying new security technology around its facilities and substations.
 
AEP Ohio has contacted scrap metal centers to encourage them to proactively report suspicious activity and to work with police or local officials to implement crime-reduction measures.  In addition, AEP Ohio has notified law enforcement, as well as municipal and county prosecutors, about the increase in copper theft and continues to pursue prosecution of offenders to the fullest extent of the law.
 
The company is committed to the timely detection and replacement or repair of equipment that has been stolen and is asking for everyone’s help in addressing this growing problem.  Individuals with information about suspicious activity near company facilities is asked to notify local law enforcement officials immediately and to report the information to AEP Ohio by calling the company’s 24/7 security hotline at 1-866-747-5845.
 
AEP Ohio provides electricity to nearly 1.5 million customers of major AEP subsidiaries Columbus Southern Power Company and Ohio Power Company in Ohio, and Wheeling Power Company in the northern panhandle of West Virginia. AEP Ohio is based in Gahanna, Ohio.  The company serves all or part of 61 counties in Ohio and two in West Virginia.
 
American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP’s transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.

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This policy was last revised on December 13, 2017.

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