KINGSPORT — AEP hopes to improve the reliability of its service in Kingsport and Sullivan County by tripling the amount of money it spends on trimming trees and by improving the capacity and flexibility of its distribution system and substations.
In order to do that, AEP plans to seek approval from the Tennessee Regulatory Agency in the coming months to increase its rates over a 10-year period.
Isaac Webb, district manager for AEP, provided a synopsis of the improvement plan and rate increase to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen last week.
Since January 2008, AEP’s annual outage duration has increased by 70 percent, with the typical interruption going from around 110 minutes to nearly 200 minutes. The primary causes of outages are trees, equipment problems and vehicle accidents.
AEP spends close to $1 million a year trimming trees away from power lines and $370,000 a year cutting trees out of the right of way. Under the new proposal, AEP plans to increase those amounts by $1.6 million and $1.3 million respectively. Overall tree attention would go from roughly $1.4 million to $4.3 million.For an expanded version of this article, please see Monday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.