Service center

PSA Hosts ‘Coronation’ Ceremony to Commemorate New Service Center

American Electric Power Texas in Laredo held a “coronation” ceremony on Tuesday in conjunction with Cobalt Construction to mark more than halfway through construction of the new local AEP Texas service center that is expected to open early next year.

The ceremony brought together various local leaders and businesses to commemorate the facility’s upcoming opening, as construction workers also on site were welcomed for their progress.

The new AEP service center sits on 37 acres and represents an investment of $35 million.

“Today we are announcing the commissioning of the new AEP Service Center here in Laredo, Texas,” said Tony Arce Jr., external affairs manager for AEP in Laredo. “The infill is a structural part of a building project where we’re dealing with all these structural metal frames, so the infill means we had a ceremonial steel beam, and we complete that and use that as one of the last members for the steel part of the building.

Special guests at the ceremony were able to sign the beam to acknowledge their presence. Some who signed included Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz and several city council members. Some local economic leaders were also present, such as Laredo Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Gene Lindgren, Laredo Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Gabriela Morales, LMT publisher Bill Green and many others.

Arce states that this steel beam will be put in place to represent those who are part of the project once it is complete. However, it has another immense meaning, as it means that 55% of the project has been completed.

“We will be able to have all of our gear in one place,” Arce said. “We will have our engineers here, our construction staff, our business partners, our network communications, our fleet services will be here, our supply chain will be here – so we will be more efficient by having to operate from one place. . “

The new service center will not handle any retail issues, Arce said, so the center will not be a place where people can go to pay their electricity bills.

Cobalt Construction is the builder in charge of the project, which is a local company. Arce said this shows AEP’s commitment to wanting to reinvest in Laredo and helps create many construction jobs in addition to those the service center will also provide.

“The money stays in Laredo and creates jobs, construction jobs,” Arce said. “We will have about 120 full-time jobs. As far as construction is concerned, there are always around 60 to 80 local jobs working on this facility. »

A new aspect of the service center is that it is more centralized than its current location west of Laredo. However, some people have criticized this change as they believe the AEP is going too far south for its operations. Arce doesn’t think that’s the case and says it’s a great place to serve the whole city and its growth areas.

“A lot of people told us we’re moving south to Laredo, and that’s not true,” Arce said. “We are actually centralized. We have made this access to serve and respond further south with greater efficiency.

According to Arce, through the use of the Loop 20 they can go almost anywhere they are needed.

Lindgren said the site selection process was also done with logistics in mind, and now the center will actually have much of Laredo closer to them and their workers whenever electrical issues arise.

“The LEDC is fortunate to be able to assist AEP Texas with its site selection services, and we are pleased to support this project in downtown Laredo,” Lindgren said.

The opening date of the new facility for its employees will be early 2023.

“We anticipate a completion date of January 2023, when all of our AEP Texas employees will come from the Santa Maria-Calton location here, and we will be able to provide the services to the community,” Arce said. “We have been on this site for a long time. We are growing, Laredo is growing, and AEP Texas is investing in its communities and providing new facilities to ensure services are what they need to be for electric utilities.

Although Calton’s old site will be sold, Arce said the company will first need to review and possibly redo the site so that it can then be sold. This process may take some time before it finally hits the market.

A Grand Opening Ceremony is also planned for January next year when AEP officially opens its new Operations Service Center.

“We look forward to providing good service to our community,” Arce said.