Before a wire is strung or a meter is set, teams of engineers at AEP Ohio are responsible for carefully analyzing, planning and designing our electrical infrastructure.
There are many different types of engineers who work at AEP Ohio (and still others who work across all of AEP). Here’s a quick look at some the employees who make up our engineering department, and what they do.
Project Design Engineers have a four-year college degree, most often in electrical engineering or engineering technology. Their job is to create engineering solutions for providing our customers with reliable power and regulating the capacity of our grid. These solutions include decisions on what equipment will be needed (power lines, protection devices, reclosers, voltage regulators, etc.) during the construction process.
Customer Design Technicians are the interface between customers and our employees who go out and perform the physical work. Design technicians meet with customers to explain the process of getting service; perform structural and electrical analyses; create construction documents for completing the work; conduct surveys; and finalize the construction orders that are necessary for executing the project. Customer design technicians typically have a two-year associate’s degree in engineering or engineering technology.
Distribution Dispatch Center (DDC) Engineers test and authorize the use of AEP Ohio’s latest technologies for improving the reliability of our grid, including line sensors, Distribution Automation Circuit Reconfiguration (DACR) and Volt VAR Optimization (VVO). DDC engineers analyze data from smart meters, transformers, circuits and substations, and when lineworkers need to reroute power to make repairs, these employees perform the necessary calculations to ensure our equipment can handle the load. DDC engineers have a four-year engineering degree.
Reliability Engineers identify the system needs that are required to improve our customers’ electric service. That includes helping analyze information around repairing and replacing our infrastructure, overhead vs. underground construction, reviewing outage data and properly allocating our resources. Reliability engineers typically have a four-year degree in electrical engineering or engineering technology.
Underground Network Engineers support all of the underground network electrical systems across AEP’s footprint, which include those in downtown Columbus and Canton. They assume the role of both project and customer design – meeting with customers in addition to planning and designing new projects – and also develop the network construction standards that are used companywide. Underground network engineers (who commonly have a four-year degree in electrical engineering) remain involved in their assigned projects from start to finish.
Planning Engineers work to understand what’s needed to support our customers – large industrial, commercial and residential customers – and make plans to ensure infrastructure is in place to keep them in power. Working closely with project design engineers, planning engineers identify the necessary transmission and substation requirements (which can mean building or upgrading nearby stations) and review the circuits and equipment that will be used. Most recently, planning engineers are kept busy not just by figuring out how to keep the lights on at factories and other large businesses, but also how to accommodate the electric vehicle charging stations that are increasingly being installed across our service territory. Planning engineers typically have a four-year degree in electrical engineering.
Key Account Engineers (who work in AEP Ohio’s Customer Experience department) are uniquely valuable for using their engineering knowledge to enhance communications between AEP Ohio and our customers. The job of a key account engineer can include managing large industrial customers, working on alternative energy resources, assessing the power quality of our system and implementing the latest grid technologies.
For more information about AEP’s engineers and to check out job opportunities, go to www.AEP.com/careers.