SHREVEPORT, La., July 9, 2008 - American Electric Power’s (NYSE: AEP) Foundation has awarded $88,300 to the Gilmer, Texas Independent School District (GISD) Foundation for a three-year project to establish a sustainable pine and hardwood forest stand on GISD property. AEP is the parent company of Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO). The AEP Foundation was created in 2005 to support the corporation’s community relations goal of supporting and playing an active role in the communities where AEP employees live and work.

About 200 acres adjacent to the elementary and intermediate school campuses will be dedicated for setting up the managed forest. “The AEP Foundation partners in a variety of environmental restoration and management projects,” said Brian Bond, SWEPCO VP external affairs. “By supporting a school district, we will be working to not only restore much needed forest lands, but also encourage environmental education and field science opportunities.”

The proposal was developed locally in conjunction with District Forester Ken Conaway of Texas Forest Service and Dr. Eric Taylor, associate professor and extension specialist-forestry with Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M University System.  Kelly Spencer, AEP plant environmental and industrial hygiene coordinator, will serve on a local advisory group for the project.  “College forestry and Gilmer High School students will assist in the establishment and evaluation of forestry plots that will demonstrate new, innovative management strategies,” said Taylor.

“With the help of the AEP Foundation and local experts, we have the opportunity to be most productive with our property,” said Rick Albritton, GISD superintendent. “This will be a long-term stewardship project and an investment for the land, students and the community as a whole.”  The Gilmer ISD Foundation will supply project oversight with an advisory group of experts who will report to the funding and managing partners as work is implemented, according to Dolly Robison, foundation president.

Objectives for the project include restoring productive forest stands; providing educational opportunities for students; and serving as a cooperative effort involving industry, natural resource agencies and the school district. Funds will be used to prepare the land, plant trees, reduce competition and manage the project.

American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. 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 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines 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 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 Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.

SWEPCO serves more than 467,000 customers in three states, including 177,000 in East and North Texas. News releases and other information about SWEPCO can be found at www.swepco.com.

SWEPCO Corporate Communications
Scott McCloud, 318-673-3532
Marie Nelson, GISD, 903-762-6572