ASHLAND, Kentucky, June 9, 2020 –Kentucky Power recently completed emergency inspections on electrical equipment that provides power to more than 44 critical facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes. Company leaders took the precautionary step out of an abundance of caution to ensure grid reliability during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Teams inspected 46 circuits throughout Kentucky Power’s 20-county service territory looking for potential concerns such as tree limbs too close to lines or other equipment problems that could cause unexpected outages.
“Even though hospitals and other care facilities typically have generators, we are doing everything we can to avoid power outages for all of our customers, especially for our health care customers who are operating 24 hours a day caring for sick and elderly patients,” said Everett Phillips, vice president –distribution region operations.
While routine inspections take place year-round, circuits serving critical customers are a priority and received extra attention because of the pandemic. Power company personnel typically inspect 50 percent of circuits annually, but inspectors evaluated all circuits feeding hospitals and nursing homes over the spring. As workers identified problems, repairs occurred immediately or crews prepared a plan to expedite needed work.
Kentucky Power also put in place other assistance for customers during the pandemic crisis. Since the crisis began, Kentucky Power has temporarily suspended disconnections for non-payment. The company suspended processing fees for credit or debit cards through July 19 to give customers more options to pay balances owed. Customers should make every effort to keep their accounts current during the period while disconnections are suspended.
If customers anticipate problems paying electric bills, they are encouraged to contact Kentucky Power’s customer solutions center at 1-800-572-1113 to discuss payment plan options.
“We understand that many of our customers may be experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic. Our customer service team is available to work with customers so they can avoid a large bill when the crisis has ended,” Phillips said.
The AEP Foundation, along with Kentucky Power, has donated nearly $150,000 to food banks and other agencies to help with relief efforts related to the pandemic. To date, the following contributions have been made:
Team Kentucky Fund, $50,000
God’s Pantry Food Bank, $45,000
Facing Hunger Food Bank, $20,000
United Way of Northeast Kentucky, $11,232
Save the Children Federation, $10,000
Pike County Senior Citizens Program, $5,000
New Hope Church, $5,000
“We want our customers to know that we stand ready to respond quickly and safely should power outages occur due to weather or any cause, and that we’ve taken extra measures to prevent outages,” Phillips said. “We’ll continue to look for ways to support our customers and communities as we work to keep the power flowing.”
Kentucky Power, with headquarters in Ashland, provides service to about 165,000 customers in 20 eastern Kentucky counties, including Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Clay, Elliott, Floyd, Greenup, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Magoffin, Martin, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike and Rowan. Kentucky Power is an operating company in the American Electric Power (AEP) system. AEP, based in Columbus, Ohio, is focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions to customers. AEP’s more than 17,000 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 224,000 miles of distribution lines to efficiently deliver safe, reliable power to nearly 5.4 million regulated customers in 11 states, including Kentucky. AEP also is one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 33,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including 4,200 megawatts of renewable energy. AEP’s companies includes utilities AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power, Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company. AEP also owns AEP Energy.