AEP taps San Benito for $10 million office, moving 110 jobs

HARLINGEN — AEP Texas is returning to San Benito and bringing 110 jobs with it.

The power company, which once had a district office in the city, announced yesterday San Benito has been selected for a new $10 million service center for the eastern end of AEP’s Rio Grande Valley District.

The new service center, to be located off U.S. Business 77 near the former airport, will consolidate offices from five Harlingen locations in the new facility.

Construction of the San Benito facility will begin in March 2017 with completion estimated early in 2018.

“The City of San Benito is enthusiastic about the prospect of having AEP’s new service center located in our community,” City Manager Manuel De La Rosa said yesterday. “We are honored to have been chosen for this exciting project. The City of San Benito and AEP are in the midst of negotiations to move forward quickly on this matter.”

The business community in the city also was heartened by the good news.

“It’s very exciting to hear such a great, reputable company coming to our community,” said Sandee Alvarez, executive director of the San Benito Chamber of Commerce. “That’s just wonderful.”

Judith Talavera, AEP Texas president and chief operating officer, said the new facility is a positive development for the company and region.

“We have needed a new service center for a long time in this area, and this is a great step forward to allow us to continue to provide reliable electric service to our customers,” Talavera said.

“We look forward to relocating to San Benito and enhancing our relationship with that city; as well as, continuing our great long-standing relationship with the City of Harlingen, where our existing service center has been located for many years.”

Tom Coad, AEP Texas vice president of distribution operations, said the new facility will be a significant upgrade from existing facilities.

“In addition to having a site that provides multiple entry points to our service center property, the site meets all our construction requirements and offers 15 extra acres compared to our existing property,” Coad said.

“This will be extremely valuable for storm restoration purposes while offering the possibility of future expansion as the Valley grows.”