How American Electric Power Quadrupled Productivity
American Electric Power (AEP)
In fulfilling a mission-critical compliance function, AEP sought a reliable software partner with a demonstrated and historied focus on FERC compliance.
Systrends’ intuitive application and advanced workflows helped AEP get 75% of their time back from recurring regulatory reporting activities.
Eliminate the Unnecessary
Systrends’ secure hosting environment and cloud-based application reduced AEP’s IT overhead, allowing their team to focus on what matters most.
“[It] was like moving from a stick shift to an automatic while stuck in rush hour traffic.”
Director of Regulated Pricing and Analysis
Largest transmission system in the United States
American Electric Power (AEP) is a pure play regulated utility founded in 1906 with an assortment of small utilities from the Atlantic to Illinois. At the time, the electric power industry was just over 20 years old and only eight percent of Americans nationwide had electricity at home. Though much has changed over the century since, AEP’s commitment to providing reliable, affordable energy for its customers remains the foundation of the company.
Today, AEP delivers electricity to more than five million customers in 11 states. It owns the nation’s largest electric transmission system with a 40,000 mile network, operates one of the largest distribution systems with a 225,000 mile network, and ranks among the nation’s largest generators with 25 GW of owned generating capacity. The company ranks 205th on the Fortune 500 and is the 6th largest utility on the list with $16.8 billion in revenue in 2021.
Robert Pennybaker has been with AEP since 1990. For over two decades, he has been a leader in the group that manages the company’s interconnection agreements, many of which require recurring reporting to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). AEP’s core filing team of three prepares and submits nearly 100 eTariff filings per year.
Partner with an established and dependable compliance vendor
When the FERC issued Order 714, mandating all tariffs, tariff revisions, and rate change applications be filed electronically effective April 2010, American Electric Power selected an alternative software vendor to manage their tariffs. A handful of people within the company engaged in significant in-person training to become power users, but still found the product to be clunky. Moreover, AEP hosted the application on their own servers, requiring internal IT maintenance and overhead.
The alternative software vendor built financial governance and risk management software that focused on the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC). In other words, FERC reporting solutions were far from a core focus. Within two years, the software vendor was acquired by a multinational technology company and the application was orphaned, leaving AEP and other filing entities to identify a new software solution to fill a mission-critical gap in their FERC compliance process.
Reliable software with workflows that quadrupled productivity
AEP went back to the drawing board to evaluate the remaining vendors in the market and quickly selected Systrends on account of our demonstrated reliability. In 2010, Systrends had contracted with four of the six FERC-regulated Independent System Operators (ISOs) and Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs), implying staying power that AEP appreciated. Moreover, Systrends offered a turnkey solution that included hosting, maintenance, and support in one simple package.
Though the transition raised eyebrows, Systrends’ customer support team led a straightforward migration of AEP’s XML files from the legacy system to Systrends’ cloud-based eTariffManager. Whereas AEP’s power users previously needed multi-step internal user guides to prepare routine filings, they found in Systrends’ eTariffManager a user-friendly interface with intuitive workflows.
With a reliable and easy-to-use eTariff solution, American Electric Power’s compliance workflows improved dramatically. The transition ultimately quadrupled productivity, reducing average time per filing from one hour with the legacy provider to 15 minutes with Systrends’ eTariffManager. Since onboarding in 2012, AEP has enjoyed responsive support from and collaborated to drive product innovation alongside Systrends’ long-tenured team. Now, AEP operates with the confidence that their tariffs will continue to comply with the FERC without interruption.