Appalachian Electric Power, which should be named “Always Erratic Power,” stopped publishing updates on its website Friday at 10 a.m. when the chart still listed 2,600 Floyd County homes without power.

According to the web site, power to those homes would be restored by midnight Friday.

They lied. Fire and police officials tell me at least 1,000 homes in the county remain without power and many of them have been told it will be Monday before the electricity comes back on.

AEP’s performance during the ice storm that knocked out power to 5,000 county homes (and more than 11,000 in the region) has been shameless and deceptive. They’ve lied to their customers so many times that they might as well be part of the Bush administration.

Last summer, AEP launched what they claimed was a “comprehensive” program to trim back tree branches near power lines to prevent just the sort of outage we experienced last week.

Yet hundreds, if not thousands, of tree branches came crashing down on power lines throughout the region. We received several automated phone calls from AEP last summer claiming tree trimming crews would be working in our area of the county yet we never saw a single crew and the only trees trimmed around the power line that enters the rear of our property were cut by me.

Like too many big corporations today, AEP’s focus is on profit, not service, and they care more about “return to shareholders” than delivering a product that works.

Their profits, and corresponding return to shareholders, hit $181 million in the fourth quarter of last year yet AEP wants Virginia’s permission to hike electric rates to astronomical levels. When they get that rate increase, we will pay through the nose not for better service but so some coupon clipper in West Palm Beach can buy a newer Bentley.