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AEP partners with L Marks to launch IlluminationLAB

American Electric Power has partnered with corporate innovation specialist L Marks to launch IlluminationLAB. IlluminationLAB, based Columbus, Ohio, is a strategic initiative designed to identify innovative technology solutions that will drive improved performance and enhance customer experiences in the energy industry.

IlluminationLAB is designed to help AEP find promising new technologies and innovative ideas focused in four areas – customer experience; grid optimization; efficiency, operations and maintenance; and electric mobility/electrification. L Marks will help AEP identify promising entrepreneurs and early and growth stage companies in the energy sector to apply to participate in the IlluminationLAB program. L Marks is initiating a global talent search for participants today. If selected for the IlluminationLAB, tech startups will work directly with an AEP mentor and industry experts for 10 weeks to help advance and shape their idea or technology. They will be given access to working space, potential funding and the chance to develop products, platforms and processes that will help AEP expand its technology-driven offerings and processes. In addition, the startups will have the opportunity to further develop their companies alongside leading subject matter experts in the energy sector.

“AEP’s IlluminationLAB is designed to combine industry insight and learnings with the perspective and technologies of talented startups from around the world. We are particularly interested in products and solutions focused on renewable energy resources, smart connected devices, customer engagement, predictive analytics and virtual assessments. We want to lead the utility industry in building the future of energy for the benefit of our customers.”

Chris Johnson, Director, AEP Enterprise Innovation and Technology.

“We are delighted to be partnering with AEP as we launch the IlluminationLAB. Having worked with AEP over the past few months, we have witnessed their brilliant attitude to open innovation, and we are excited to uncover the most exciting early and growth stage companies who will be able to capitalize on this unprecedented opportunity to expand their businesses whilst creating game-changing solutions across the energy sector.”

Daniel Saunders, Chief Executive, L Marks.

AEP’s IlluminationLAB will focus on four key themes, but will consider other creative proposals that don’t fit one of the themes:

Customer Experience

Communication with customers and the ability to provide pertinent information that enables customers make informed energy choices is crucial. AEP is seeking ways to better understand consumer behavior and to provide more proactive, personalized communications that will give customers the information they need to make informed energy decisions.

Grid Optimization

AEP is responsible for managing a huge network of infrastructure designed to provide safe, reliable and affordable service for all customers, to meet peak energy demands, and to enhance use of its infrastructure assets. AEP is seeking new technologies to enhance management and utilization of its energy production and delivery infrastructure, address potential impacts of customers who generate and control their own electricity, and to inexpensively control and shift energy peaks locally, rather than across the entire grid.

Efficiency, Operations and Maintenance

AEP is seeking opportunities to improve efficiency by digitizing traditional processes and also aggregating data from customers, infrastructure and facilities. AEP also is looking for solutions that can provide enhanced and new data from its systems to help inform decisions and investments.

Electric Mobility/Electrification

New infrastructure is needed to support electric mobility including charging, demand management and grid stability. AEP is seeking technology innovations that will help increase the adoption of electric mobility and reduce the costs for the infrastructure needed to support adoption.

Start-ups, entrepreneurs, and businesses interested in learning more and applying for the IlluminationLAB are encouraged to visit Applications to participate in the IlluminationLAB will be open until April 7th. The most compelling applications will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to AEP executives and stakeholders May 14th, with the cohort starting June 17th.


American Electric Power, based in Columbus, Ohio, is focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions to our customers. AEP’s approximately 18,000 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 219,000 miles of distribution lines to efficiently deliver safe, reliable power to nearly 5.4 million regulated customers in 11 states. AEP also is one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 32,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including 4,300 megawatts of renewable energy. AEP’s family of companies includes utilities AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana, east Texas and the Texas Panhandle). AEP also owns AEP Energy, AEP Energy Partners, AEP OnSite Partners and AEP Renewables, which provide innovative competitive energy solutions nationwide.