Robert P. Powers

Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
American Electric Power
 
 
Biography: 

Robert P. Powers is executive vice president and chief operating officer, with responsibility for AEP Utilities; Commercial Operations; Customer Services, Marketing & Distribution Services; Generation; Nuclear Generation; Planning & Budgeting, and Regulatory Services. 

Previously, he was president - AEP Utilities, responsible for AEP´s electric utility operations that serve more than 5 million customers in 11 states. He also oversees regulatory and policy matters relating to utility operations. In addition, Mr. Powers was also responsible for AEP’s Environmental and Safety organizations.

From 2006 to 2008, he was executive vice president - AEP East Utilities, responsible for AEP’s utility operating units Appalachian Power, Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, and AEP Ohio, which serve 3.2 million customers in the states of Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. 

Prior to this, he was executive vice president - Generation, a position he had held since 2003. Mr. Powers was responsible for all generation activities, including fossil and hydro generation; nuclear generation; project and field services; fuel, emissions and logistics, and business services. It was during this time that AEP was involved with planning and executing fossil plant modifications for SO2 and NOX. In addition, Mr. Powers led AEP’s efforts to add Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) Technology and ultra-supercritical coal as options for future coal generation. 

From 2001 to 2003, he was executive vice president - Nuclear and Technical Services, a position that gave Mr. Powers his first significant exposure to fossil plant construction and maintenance, along with responsibility for operation of the D.C. Cook Nuclear Plant. 

Mr. Powers joined AEP in 1998 as senior vice president - Nuclear Generation. He was hired to assure the successful restart of the two Cook nuclear units, which had been voluntarily shut down the year before. Under Mr. Powers’s leadership, AEP conducted a comprehensive engineering and maintenance re-verification of the plant and both units were successfully returned to service in 2000 -- with the added benefit of replacing and upgrading the steam generators for the plant. 

Prior to joining AEP, he previously served as vice president and plant manager of Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s Diablo Canyon Nuclear Generating Station. Mr. Powers was employed by PG&E for 17 years, joining the firm as a health physicist in 1982, and subsequently serving in the maintenance, quality assurance, and operations departments before becoming vice president. 

Mr. Powers first joined the utility business in 1976, when he was hired by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the utility’s nuclear program. Mr. Powers focused on radiation measurement and environmental assessment of TVA’s nuclear power plants and uranium mining properties. 

A native of Andover, Mass., Mr. Powers earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Tufts University in Boston and a master's degree in radiological hygiene (health physics) from the University of North Carolina. He earned national certification by the American Board of Health Physics. He earned senior reactor operator certification in 1991. In addition, Mr. Powers completed executive management programs run by the University of California – Berkeley and Duke University. 

Mr. Powers is active in the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), and is the Chair of the Board for the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD), an EEI organization focused on recruiting technical talent to the utilities. He also served as a member of the National Nuclear Training Accreditation Board for six years until 2009. Mr. Powers served as a member of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Board of Directors from 2002 to 2009. During his term at EPRI he served as the Chair of the Compensation Committee and as a member of the Executive Committee. 

Locally, Mr. Powers serves on the Boards of Directors for the world renowned Columbus Zoo, and the Wilds, a wildlife conservation organization located on former AEP mining properties in central Ohio. Previously he served on the Dean’s Advisory Council for The Ohio State University Engineering department, and as a Trustee for the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges. Mr. Powers serves as Executive Champion of the AEP United Negro College Fund campaign at AEP in Columbus, and was recognized in 2009 with a Legacy Achievement Award by that organization. 

Powers lives in Powell, Ohio, with his wife Jan. They have three children. Daughter Erin is an attorney in Denver, Colorado. Middle son Jeff is a two-time Olympian in water polo, winning the silver medal for the United States in 2008. Steve is the youngest of Bob and Jan’s kids and is a store manager for Home Depot in Denver, Colorado.