CHARLESTON, W.Va., April 25, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- American Electric Power (AEP) is focused on building the next generation energy grid and enhancing service for customers, according to Nicholas K. Akins, AEP's chairman, president and chief executive officer. Akins addressed shareholders at the company's annual meeting today in Charleston, West Virginia.
"We are making investments to create a smarter, more resilient and efficient grid that supports the integration of new technologies and cleaner resources to meet the energy needs of our customers. Over the next three years, we plan to invest $17.3 billion in capital, including $13 billion in our transmission and distribution systems and $1.5 billion in new renewable energy, to help develop the grid of the future," Akins said.
AEP delivered a total shareholder return of nearly 12 percent in 2016 and increased its quarterly dividend 5.4 percent. The company's transmission business contributed 54 cents per share to earnings in 2016, up 38 percent from 2015.
"We are well-positioned as a premier regulated energy company that delivers strong financial results for our shareholders. The investments we're making in our core regulated businesses, along with our proven track record of cost discipline, will support our operating earnings growth rate of 5 percent to 7 percent," Akins said.
Akins also discussed AEP's new logo and brand identity, which were unveiled in March. He praised the passion of the company's 17,600 employees in working to create a brighter future for the customers and communities AEP serves. "Our employees are committed to making sure our customers have the safe, reliable and increasingly clean energy they need to power their lives. Together, we are developing new and innovative energy solutions to meet our customers' expectations, strengthening our communities and redefining the future of energy," Akins said.
In business items at the annual shareholders meeting, AEP shareholders elected 12 directors. Directors re-elected to the board are: Nicholas K. Akins, 56, of Dublin, Ohio; David J. Anderson, 67, of Greenwich, Conn.; J. Barnie Beasley Jr., 65, of Sylvania, Ga.; Ralph D. Crosby Jr., 69, of McLean, Va.; Linda A. Goodspeed, 55, of Marco Island, Fla.; Thomas E. Hoaglin, 67, of Columbus, Ohio; Sandra Beach Lin, 59, of Flower Mound, Texas; Richard C. Notebaert, 69, of Chicago; Lionel L. Nowell III, 62, of Marco Island, Fla.; Stephen S. Rasmussen, 64, of Columbus, Ohio; Oliver G. Richard III, 64, of Lake Charles, La.; and Sara Martinez Tucker, 61, of Dallas.
Approximately 97 percent of shares voted to reapprove the material terms of AEP's senior officer incentive plan.
Approximately 99 percent of shares voted ratified the firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as AEP's independent public accounting firm for 2017.
Approximately 85 percent of shares voted indicated support for AEP's executive officer compensation program.
Approximately 89 percent of shares voted in support of continuing to hold an advisory vote on executive compensation once a year.
American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity and custom energy solutions to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. AEP owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a more than 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP also operates 224,000 miles of distribution lines. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning approximately 26,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP supplies 3,200 megawatts of renewable energy to customers. AEP's utility units operate as 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's headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.
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: the economic climate, growth or contraction within and changes in market demand and demographic patterns in AEP's service territory; 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, customer growth and the impact of competition, including competition for retail customers; weather conditions, including storms and drought conditions, and AEP's ability to recover significant storm restoration costs; the cost of fuel and its transportation and the creditworthiness and performance of fuel suppliers and transporters; availability of necessary generating capacity and the performance of AEP's generating plants; 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 or market prices 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 and capacity auction returns; changes in utility regulation and the allocation of costs within regional transmission organizations, including ERCOT, PJM and SPP; the market for generation in Ohio and PJM and the ability to recover investments in Ohio generation assets; 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.
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