AEP To Make Up For Loss

MOUNDSVILLE – Preparing to shut down the coal-fired Kammer Plant by June 2015, American Electric Power is making moves to compensate for the loss of power by upgrading its transmission lines, including one spanning 5.9 miles through both Ohio and Marshall counties.

“We are investing $1 billion for transmission improvements,” said AEP spokeswoman Carmen Prati-Miller. “This is because we are closing some coal-fired power plants, including Kammer.”

During a meeting of Marshall County Commission last week, Prati-Miller told commissioners the company is upgrading the 5.9-mile Brues-Sand Hill line, which serves customers in the Bethlehem, Mozart, Elm Grove, Cedar Rocks and Sand Hill areas. It runs from the Brues substation, located near the border of Benwood and South Wheeling along W.Va. 2, to Sand Hill in Marshall County. She said the company believes this project will alleviate some potential problems that could come with Kammer’s closure.

“The goal is to have this project done by the time Kammer closes,” she said.

Prati-Miller also addressed the power generation at the Mitchell Plant. Earlier this year, Kentucky Power assumed control of 50 percent of the facility’s wattage capacity. The remaining 50 percent belongs to AEP Generation Sources. She said AEP wanted to shift this 50 percent of the Mitchell Plant to Appalachian Power, but said Virginia regulators “put the kibosh on that.”

“We are now looking to transfer this 50 percent to Wheeling Power,” Prati-Miller said of the electric company servicing Ohio and Marshall counties. She said AEP has a request before the Public Service Commission of West Virginia to allow this transaction.

AEP Ohio, Wheeling Power, Appalachian Power, Kentucky Power and AEP Generation Sources are all subsidiaries of Columbus, Ohio-based corporate parent, AEP. The coal-fired Mitchell plant is 43 years old, but had scrubbers installed in 2007.

Prati-Miller also told commissioners AEP will perform extensive tree-trimming throughout the area this year to help improve reliability by reducing the chances that branches will crash onto power lines.