Business Performance

Avian Protection

For more than three decades, the utility industry, conservation groups, wildlife resource agencies and others have worked together to understand why birds collide with or are electrocuted by power lines. This is a growing concern as construction of new transmission facilities and renewable energy facilities accelerates across the United States.

To reduce avian mortality, utilities have adopted voluntary company-specific Avian Protection Plans (APP) to mitigate the risks associated with bird interactions with electric utility facilities. AEP’s APP was completed in 2013 and we initiated the process of implementation. The plan’s purpose is to reduce the incidences of bird electrocutions and collisions with AEP’s equipment, and to reduce the frequency of bird-caused outages.

As AEP makes significant investments in new transmission and rebuilds older lines, the implementation of the APP is important to prevent birds from coming into contact with our facilities. The APP also reflects our commitment to comply with environmental requirements that protect birds. We participate in the industry’s Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC) which helps us reduce bird interactions with our equipment.

AEP’s Avian Protection Plan

AEP manages bird/power line interactions through a system-wide program across our 11-state service territory, where a wide variety of bird species can be found. Currently, AEP’s primary challenge is on larger species that are more likely to be electrocuted in substations and on poles, or collide with towers and lines.

The APP has several key components:

  • Employee training and compliance – We educate our employees and provide training on compliance with all federal and state laws.
  • Construction design standards and mortality reduction measures – We have a process to incorporate bird safety into the design of new lines and facilities.
  • Nest management and avian enhancement options – We apply bird-safety tactics such as installing a dedicated de-energized pole for bird nesting or bird diverters to keep them away from wires.
  • Avian reporting systems and risk assessment methodologies --We are updating our tracking system to improve our monitoring and reporting capabilities to allow us to be more proactive.
  • Public education – We promote the need for migratory bird and habitat conservation and work cooperatively with federal and state agencies and non-profit organizations.

Our goal is to be proactive in preventing bird deaths and collisions. To do this, we seek to continuously improve the training employees receive to enhance their knowledge and awareness of what to do when an event occurs and actions they can take to prevent it from happening in the first place.

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