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American Electric Power ( ) is a major investor-owner electric utility in various parts of the United Statesmarker. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a nearly network that includes 765 kilovolt ultra-high voltage transmission lines; more than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP's transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas. AEP's utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia, West Virginia, and 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.

American Electric Power was the first utility to utilize 345KV transmission lines which took place in 1953.

Overview

The company is divided into seven major geographic local operating companies:
  • AEP Ohio, made up of the former Ohio Power and Columbus Southern Power
  • AEP Texas, a merger of various predecessor utilities
  • Appalachian Power, serving West Virginiamarker and Virginiamarker
  • Indiana Michigan Power
  • Kentucky Power
  • Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO), and
  • Southwestern Electric Power Company, often called SWEPCO, serving Arkansasmarker, Louisianamarker, and eastern Texasmarker


In addition, two smaller divisions, Wheeling Electric Power (serving Wheeling, West Virginiamarker) and Kingsport Electric Power (serving Kingsport, Tennesseemarker), are operated as de facto parts of AEP Ohio and Appalachian Power, respectively.

AEP owns and operates the Donald C.marker Cookmarker nuclear power plant.

AEP also bought much of the town of Cheshire, Ohiomarker, after it had become contaminated by AEP's Gavin Power Plantmarker. [121740]

AEP is also a leading technology company in the energy industry, having recently announced their plans to build an Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) coal-fired power plant which is expected to reduce emissions while providing additional electricity capacity to the customers served by AEP.

The company also operates its own inland barge line, AEP River Operations (formerly MEMCO Barge Line), and owns major tracts of land throughout its service areas.

In August 2008, American Electric Power has formed a joint venture company with Duke Energy to build and own new electric transmission assets.

Hybrid technology

American Electric Power is expanding its green efforts to include 18 more International DuraStar Hybrid diesel hybrid trucks. AEP is also teaming with Ford for the integration of a Vehicle-To-Power grid communication system, which allows hybrid vehicles to communicate with power companies to determine where, how long, and what it would cost to re-charge a hybrid during travel.

Solar and wind energy

AEP is supportive of renewable energy and incorporating the use of solar energy into its portfolio. It recently signed a deal with Wyandot Solar LLC to purchase power from one of the largest solar fields in the eastern United States, based in Upper Sandusky, Ohio.

AEP owns and operates the Desert Sky Wind Farm and the Trent Wind Farmmarker.

In 2009, AEP partnered with other energy companies in commissioning a study of how to transmit wind energy generated in the Upper Midwest to consumers in the East.

PATH Project

AEP is teaming with Allegheny Energy to build the proposed $1.8 billion Potomac-Allegheny Transmission line, which incorporates new technology that will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 380,000 tons a year. It will also allow for the transmission of renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and hydroelectric. The project will generate 5700 jobs, and $420 million in employee compensation annually.

Environmental record

The Political Economy Research Institute ranks American Electric Power 45th among corporations emitting airborne pollutants in the United States. The ranking is based on the quantity (91 million pounds in 2005) and toxicity of the emissions. Major pollutants include sulfuric and hydrochloric acid, and chromium, manganese and nickel compounds. Overall, electric power plants, such as those operated by AEP, account for almost "70 percent of sulfur dioxide emissions each year and 30 percent of nitrogen oxides emissions." Individually, these pollutants cause serious respiratory damage and other illnesses; when combined, they create what's known as acid rain, which causes long term damage to the environment and deterioration of natural and man-made structures. Environmental Protection Agency has named American Electric a potentially responsible party at the Green River Disposal Inc. Superfund toxic waste site.

Justice Department lawsuit

The United States Justice Department filed a lawsuit in November 3, 1999, against AEP and six other companies for violating the Clean Air Act. On October 8, 2007, AEP agreed to install US$4.6 billion in equipment to reduce emission, as well as pay a US$15 million civil fine.[121741]The company will cut 813,000 tons of air pollutants annually once all of the controls are installed. According to the press release, the agreement imposes caps on emissions of pollutants from 16 plants located in five states. The facilities are located in Moundsvillemarker (2 facilities), St. Albansmarker, Glasgowmarker, and New Havenmarker (2 facilities), West Virginiamarker; Louisa, Kentuckymarker; Glen Lynmarker and Carbo, Virginiamarker; Brilliantmarker, Conesvillemarker, Cheshiremarker, Lockbournemarker, and Beverlymarker, Ohiomarker; and Rockportmarker and Lawrenceburgmarker, Indianamarker.

Political influence

AEP's political action committee, the American Electric Power Committee for Responsible Government, has increased spending since the 1998 election cycle, reaching $1.4 million in contributions in 2007-2008, 57 percent to Republicans. Also in 2008, American Electric Power significantly increased lobbying expenditures from less than $2 million a year to over $11 million, as climate legislation became a key issue in Washington.

In 2009, AEP CEO Michael Morris contributed $100,000 to Newt Gingrich's American Solutions for Winning the Future, which supports increased oil drilling and opposes mandatory limits on greenhouse gas pollution. American Electric Power is also a member of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a lobbying and marketing organization which opposes President Obama's climate and clean energy legislation.

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