Our Guardian automatic generator is humming away at the rear of the house, providing the electric power that that we lost this morning to the increasingly inefficient and unreliable Appalachian Power Company.

Power blinked on and off a half dozen times Friday night and early Saturday morning before finally going out for good at 11:45 a.m.  Thankfully, our generator kicked in automatically and restored power so that I could get into the shower to prepare for a wedding this afternoon.

Tried to report the outage via their web site but kept getting a "processing error." Tried reporting it via their "automated outage reporting system" via phone but it wouldn’t work. Finally, after going through six or seven layers of voice mail menus I got a bored customer service rep who promised to log the report.

AEP is a supremely arrogant mega-nopolopy that preys on its customers while demanding insanely high electric rate increases at the same time the company reports record profits. To make matters worse, power outages are increasing throughout the region and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the outages aren’t planned to bolster the company’s case for rate increases. Virginia forced them to return a major part of an obscene rate hike that they put into place before it was approved — just another glaring example of the company’s arrogance and disregard for its customers.

Like too many public utility monopolies, AEP executives only care about "return to the investor." They never have given a damn about their customers and probably never will.

UPDATE: Power returned at 4:26 p.m. Saturday. No explanation for the four hours of outage, no follow up phone call to customers. When we lived in Northern Virginia, Dominion Power always followed up with phone calls to customers to explain outages. Same for Union Electric when we lived in the St. Louis metro area. It’s called customer service — a concept that appears beyond the grasp of AEP.