Turk Plant construction can continue pending appeal

Shreveport, La., 12-05-2008 – The Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission today voted to allow construction of AEP Southwestern Electric Power Company’s John W. Turk Jr. Power Plant to continue while an appeal of the plant’s permit is heard.
“We are pleased the Commission agreed that continuing construction would not impact air quality,” said Paul Chodak, president and chief operating officer of SWEPCO, a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP). “Since construction will take about four years, there is enough time to handle the appeal before the plant is completed. Plus, several hundred workers can remain employed this holiday season.”

Earlier this week, opponents appealed the plant’s air permit with the Commission, automatically halting construction until the appeal could be heard. SWEPCO then filed a request to lift the stay, so progress could continue while the appeal is pending.

After hearing from both sides of the issue, Commissioners agreed with SWEPCO that further delays of the project would prove costly for customers, local governments, and the workers and their families who depend on the construction jobs.

“Besides jobs and the benefit the plant’s construction would have on the area, SWEPCO customers need the power this plant will create,” Chodak said. “Any delay in its operation could require SWEPCO to purchase energy from other sources, which could increase customers’ rates an additional two to four percent.” 

On Nov. 5, SWEPCO was awarded the air permit by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality after a process that took more than two years. Once the permit was issued, workers immediately began construction of the 600-megawatt baseload plant.
Located about 15 miles northeast of Texarkana, the plant is expected to be one of the cleanest coal-fired plants in the country, featuring emission control technology that will enable the plant to meet emission limits that are among the most stringent ever permitted for a pulverized coal unit.

At the height of construction, about 1,400 people will be employed. The new construction also will create 1,100 indirect jobs.

Failure to allow construction to continue would have caused layoffs of about 375 people and economic hardship on the local economy, which needs the influx of new jobs the project would provide.

SWEPCO serves more than 473,500 customers in three states, including 113,500 in western Arkansas, 180,000 in Northwest Louisiana, and 180,000 in East and North Texas. SWEPCO’s headquarters are in Shreveport, La. News releases and other information about SWEPCO can be found at www.swepco.com.

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 east and north Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio. News releases and other information about AEP can be found at www.aep.com.

This report made by AEP 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: electric load and customer growth; weather conditions, including storms; available sources and costs of, and transportation for, fuels and the creditworthiness and performance of fuel suppliers and transporters; availability of generating capacity and the performance of AEP’s generating plants; AEP’s ability to recover regulatory assets and stranded costs in connection with deregulation; AEP’s ability to recover increases in fuel and other energy costs through regulated or competitive electric rates; AEP’s ability to build or acquire generating capacity (including AEP’s ability to obtain any necessary regulatory approvals and permits) when needed at acceptable prices and terms and to recover those costs through applicable rate cases or competitive rates; new legislation, litigation and government regulation including requirements for reduced emissions of sulfur, nitrogen, mercury, carbon, soot or particulate matter and other substances; new legislation, litigation and government regulation including requirements for reduced emissions of sulfur, nitrogen, mercury, carbon, soot or particulate matter and other substances; timing and resolution of pending and future rate cases, negotiations and other regulatory decisions (including rate or other recovery for new investments, transmission service and environmental compliance); resolution of litigation (including pending Clean Air Act enforcement actions and disputes arising from the bankruptcy of Enron Corp. and related matters); AEP’s ability to constrain operation and maintenance costs; the economic climate and growth in AEP’s service territory and changes in market demand and demographic patterns; inflationary and interest rate trends; AEP’s ability to develop and execute a strategy based on a view regarding prices of electricity, natural gas and other energy-related commodities; 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 debt; volatility and changes in markets for electricity, natural gas and other energy-related commodities; changes in utility regulation, including the potential for new legislation in Ohio and membership in and integration into regional transmission organizations; accounting pronouncements periodically issued by accounting standard-setting bodies; the performance of AEP’s pension and other postretirement benefit plans; prices for power that AEP generates and sells at wholesale; changes in technology, particularly with respect to new, developing or alternative sources of generation; other risks and unforeseen events, including wars, the effects of terrorism (including increased security costs), embargoes and other catastrophic events.

SWEPCO Corporate Communications:
Scott McCloud, 318-673-3532
Kacee Kirschvink, 318-673-3394

AEP Corporate Communications:
Director, Corporate Media Relations
Pat Hemlepp, 614-716-1620

Julie Sherwood
Director, Investor Relations