COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 24, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) is investing in its core regulated businesses to improve service to customers and advance new energy technologies, according to Nicholas K. Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer. Akins addressed shareholders at the company's annual meeting today in Columbus, Ohio.
"AEP is positioned as a premier regulated energy company, with nearly all of our forecasted earnings coming from our regulated businesses," Akins said. "Our 17,600 employees are focused on providing innovative energy solutions to our customers, integrating new technologies and building a smarter, cleaner and more resilient energy system.
"We plan to invest $17.7 billion in capital over the next three years – including $12.8 billion in our transmission and distribution systems and $1.7 billion in renewable energy – as we work to develop the energy system of the future and meet the changing energy needs and expectations of our customers. These investments will continue to support our operating earnings growth rate of 5 percent to 7 percent," Akins said.
AEP's forecasted $1.7 billion renewable energy investment between 2018 and 2020 does not include the company's 2,000-megawatt Wind Catcher project, which will bring clean energy and lower bills for customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas if approved by regulators in those states.
AEP delivered a total shareholder return of 20.9 percent in 2017 and increased its quarterly dividend by 5.1 percent to 62 cents per share. The company's transmission business contributed 72 cents per share to earnings in 2017, up 33 percent from 2016.
In business items at the annual shareholders meeting, AEP shareholders elected 12 directors. Directors re-elected to the board are: Nicholas K. Akins, 57, of New Albany, Ohio; David J. Anderson, 68, of Greenwich, Conn.; J. Barnie Beasley Jr., 66, of Sylvania, Ga.; Ralph D. Crosby Jr., 70, of McLean, Va.; Linda A. Goodspeed, 56, of Marco Island, Fla.; Thomas E. Hoaglin, 68, of Columbus, Ohio; Sandra Beach Lin, 60, of Flower Mound, Texas; Richard C. Notebaert, 70, of Naples, Fla.; Lionel L. Nowell III, 63, of Marco Island, Fla.; Stephen S. Rasmussen, 65, of Columbus, Ohio; Oliver G. Richard III, 65, of Lake Charles, La.; and Sara Martinez Tucker, 62, of Dallas.
Approximately 99 percent of shares voted ratified the firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as AEP's independent public accounting firm for 2018.
Approximately 94 percent of shares voted indicated support for AEP's executive officer compensation program.
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 more than 17,000 employees operate and maintain the nation's largest electricity transmission system and more than 224,000 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 33,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including 4,200 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 and east Texas). AEP also owns AEP Energy, AEP Energy Partners, AEP OnSite Partners and AEP Renewables, which provide innovative competitive energy solutions nationwide.
This report made by American Electric Power and its Registrant Subsidiaries contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Although AEP and each of its Registrant Subsidiaries believe that their expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, any such statements may be influenced by factors that could cause actual outcomes and results to be materially different from those projected. Among the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are: economic growth or contraction within and changes in market demand and demographic patterns in AEP service territories; inflationary or deflationary interest rate trends; volatility in the financial markets, particularly developments affecting the availability or cost of capital to finance new capital projects and refinance existing debt; the availability and cost of funds to finance working capital and capital needs, particularly during periods when the time lag between incurring costs and recovery is long and the costs are material; electric load and customer growth; weather conditions, including storms and drought conditions, and AEP's ability to recover significant storm restoration costs; the cost of fuel and its transportation, the creditworthiness and performance of fuel suppliers and transporters and the cost of storing and disposing of used fuel, including coal ash and spent nuclear fuel; availability of necessary generating capacity, the performance of AEP's generating plants and the availability of fuel, including processed nuclear fuel, parts and service from reliable vendors; AEP's ability to recover fuel and other energy costs through regulated or competitive electric rates; AEP's ability to build transmission lines and facilities (including the ability to obtain any necessary regulatory approvals and permits) when needed at acceptable prices and terms and to recover those costs; new legislation, litigation and government regulation, including oversight of nuclear generation, energy commodity trading and new or heightened requirements for reduced emissions of sulfur, nitrogen, mercury, carbon, soot or particulate matter and other substances that could impact the continued operation, cost recovery, and/or profitability of AEP's generation plants and related assets; evolving public perception of the risks associated with fuels used before, during and after the generation of electricity, including nuclear fuel; a reduction in the federal statutory tax rate that could result in an accelerated return of deferred federal income taxes to customers; timing and resolution of pending and future rate cases, negotiations and other regulatory decisions, including rate or other recovery of new investments in generation, distribution and transmission service and environmental compliance; resolution of litigation; AEP's ability to constrain operation and maintenance costs; AEP's ability to develop and execute a strategy based on a view regarding prices of electricity and gas; prices and demand for power generated and sold at wholesale; changes in technology, particularly with respect to energy storage and new, developing, alternative or distributed sources of generation; AEP's ability to recover through rates any remaining unrecovered investment in generating units that may be retired before the end of their previously projected useful lives; volatility and changes in markets for capacity and electricity, coal, and other energy-related commodities, particularly changes in the price of natural gas; changes in utility regulation and the allocation of costs within regional transmission organizations, including ERCOT, PJM and SPP; AEP's ability to successfully and profitably manage competitive generation assets, including the evaluation and execution of strategic alternatives for these assets as some of the alternatives could result in a loss; changes in the creditworthiness of the counterparties with whom AEP has contractual arrangements, including participants in the energy trading market; actions of rating agencies, including changes in the ratings of AEP debt; the impact of volatility in the capital markets on the value of the investments held by AEP's pension, other postretirement benefit plans, captive insurance entity and nuclear decommissioning trust and the impact of such volatility on future funding requirements; accounting pronouncements periodically issued by accounting standard-setting bodies; and other risks and unforeseen events, including wars, the effects of terrorism (including increased security costs), embargoes, cyber security threats and other catastrophic events.