In Our Communities
From hosting open houses to launch new transmission projects to developing a resource plan that meets a community’s energy and capacity needs, AEP is committed to being open, accessible, honest and responsive. To us, it’s all about relationships.
AEP Transmission’s project outreach team uses open house events to gather input from the the public and land owners.
Engaging the public is an important aspect of building new infrastructure today; people expect to be included, informed and heard. When we do a good job of managing these interactions, we have more positive outcomes for AEP and for those who are affected.
Community outreach is very important to AEP’s transmission business unit, where significant construction impacting the public is under way. AEP Transmission’s project outreach team uses open house events, interactive project websites and other tools to gather input and work with the public, land owners, government agencies, regulators and siting agencies. This proactive approach promotes transparency and two-way communication; ensures compliance with laws and regulations; and gives affected individuals and communities a voice throughout the process. In 2016, project outreach specialists supported 281 projects across AEP’s system and hosted 27 community open house events.
Another avenue of stakeholder engagement occurs in our integrated resource planning (IRP) process. Most of our states have formal stakeholder processes for developing these resource plans, while others are more informal. In all cases, the intent is to be inclusive, listen to stakeholder ideas and concerns, answer their questions and consider their input as we develop resource plans for our jurisdictions.
In Indiana, Arkansas and Louisiana, for example, the stakeholder process is formalized and includes representatives from customer groups, various industry groups, environmental groups and others. In these states, we share the IRP with the stakeholders before filing it with the state utility commissions. In other states, such as Oklahoma, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia, the engagement process is less iterative, but there are clear pathways to developing and approving IRPs before and during the process. While each process is unique, it is still based on the principles of engagement and transparency.
What We Learned
- Engaging the public is critical to a project’s success; people expect to be included, informed and heard.
- Stakeholders want a voice in determining their energy future.
- Outreach and transparency are important.