AEP awards city $40,000 for installing efficient equipment

By Frank Lewis

August 31, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

An efficiency move and the teamwork of the Portsmouth City Waterworks Department at State Electric has netted the city more than $40,000 from AEP Ohio.

“AEP Ohio is issuing a check through the Energy Efficiency Program to the city of Portsmouth for some upgrades that they did to their water pump system,” Kelly Bussler AEP Customer Service Representative, said. “They did an upgrade and put in a variable speed drive on their water pump which will help with the efficiency of the electric usage, and bring their bill down. And we are also able to give them money back as part of the program through our AEP Ohio Energy Efficiency Program.”

In March, the city completed a yearlong project to reduce wasted energy and save money by retrofitting a 350 horsepower effluent water pump with a variable speed drive to control water flow. The upgrade will reduce annual power usage by approximately 500,000 kWh and 50 kW demand, which equates to approximately $40,000 in savings per year.

“There was some concern, with it (the city equipment) being some older equipment,” City Waterworks Director Sam Sutherland said. “But we talked with State Electric, and we figured that they’ve got a drive that would work. So after we talked with them and we got introduced to the Incentive Program, we went to (City) Council, and they were in total agreement, and here we are now.”

Praise was given to Sutherland.

“Sam has been one of the top department heads that is really good with managing a department and coming up with money-saving programs,” Portsmouth Mayor David Malone said. “So we’re excited about the return on this investment.”

Malone said the money presented to the city Friday morning will go back into the Waterworks Fund.

Sutherland stood in front of the equipment and explained the variable frequency drive’s function.

“Basically, what it does is control the motor speed on a pump,” Sutherland said. “It gives us better control of our flow out into the system, a better way of controlling the Sunrise Reservoir level plus system pressure.”

An important partner in the project was State Electric Supply Company.

“We were invited to bid on this through Sam and his department and it’s a state-of-the-art piece of equipment that we’ve installed,” Miles Ferguson of State Electric Supply said. “It’s the first one either of us has installed like this, and it has been an interesting process. The savings makes it well worthwhile. It really opens up doors for us in improving other pieces of equipment in the city and with the Water Department.”

Since 2009, AEP Ohio has helped customers reduce power usage by 1,697 GWhs, saving more than $1 billion. AEP Ohio offers a variety of energy efficiency programs and discounts to help business and residential customers to stop wasting energy and start saving money. For more information, visit (business) or (residential).

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.