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AEP CHAIRMAN RICHARD E. DISBROW SEEKS DIALOGUE ON ENERGY ISSUES

 AEP CHAIRMAN RICHARD E. DISBROW
 SEEKS DIALOGUE ON ENERGY ISSUES
 COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 22 /PRNewswire/ -- American Electric Power will seek enlightened national energy policies, balanced state regulatory practices and effective internal cost controls to assure the company's future, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard E. Disbrow told shareowners today.
 "We must be active participants in the dialogue at the local, state and federal level on issues relating to our company and our industry," said Disbrow, who discussed AEP's role in shaping the future of the electric power industry at the company's 85th annual meeting.
 Disbrow said the company remains committed to aggressive cost controls and operating efficiencies in order to keep AEP well positioned as a low-cost, stable and reliable provider of electric energy, one that is well prepared to adapt to challenges electric utilities face in the future.
 "We approach the remainder of the decade from a position of strength. We have in place, at yesterday's prices, adequate power generation and transmission to match our customers' anticipated requirements for the remainder of this decade," Disbrow said. "This affords us ample opportunity to develop flexible programs to adapt to the almost certain changes in the way we will be doing business.
 "As successful as we may be in improving our operations performance, the key determinants of our future success will be the attitude of the general public toward us and the actions taken in legislative halls and in regulatory hearing rooms," Disbrow said.
 "Regulation, which was designed to fairly balance the interests of consumers and investors, has, in my view, sharply tilted toward short- term, lowest-price considerations to the long-run detriment of the adequacy, reliability and price of electric energy to consumers," he said.
 Competition in the electric utility business, government regulation and environmental issues will dominate the industry's future, Disbrow said. He called for balanced regulation that would foster reliable, low-cost energy service for customers over the long-term, as well as caution toward proposals that could drastically restructure the utility business and pose unintended side effects for customers.
 Regulators may allow new competitors to enter the business of generating electricity, Disbrow said, but he expressed concern over the high debt ratios that independent power producers would be permitted under existing and proposed legislation.
 "Excessive leverage was considered bad public policy in the 1930s," Disbrow said. "I think it is fair to question why in 1992 it is now considered good public policy to encourage greater use of debt," he said.
 Disbrow said he also hopes Congress will protect utility customers who could be hurt by proposals to open up power grids to anyone requesting access.
 Uncontrolled open access to the grid could make electric service less reliable and increase costs for a utility's own customers, Disbrow said.
 Nonetheless, some of the industry's new developments hold many potential benefits for customers, Disbrow said. Enlightened regulatory initiatives could help expand AEP's pilot energy conservation programs in an effective demand-side management initiative. Those AEP conservation pilot programs now include recycling unused second refrigerators, development of a new electronic light bulb and the ongoing development of TransText(tm), which allows customers to regulate the use of electricity in their homes.
 "Even more than in the past, we will not be selling kilowatt hours but rather the value and services that electric energy provides consumers," Disbrow said. "To accomplish this we must get to know our customers -- residential, commercial, industrial and wholesale -- better than we have known them in the past."
 Disbrow said the company faces challenges on the environmental front not only to comply with the "acid rain" provisions of the federal Clean Air Act amendments of 1990, but also in shaping the current discussion of global climate change.
 "There are questions about global climate change and demands that gaseous emissions to the atmosphere be frozen or curtailed," Disbrow said. "I hope that we allow scientific knowledge rather than emotion to dictate our course of action, if any.
 "There must be reasoned balance between the environment, energy use and economic growth for this nation to remain competitive in the world marketplace," he added.
 -0- 4/22/92
 /CONTACT: Luke M. Feck of American Electric Power Public Affairs, 614-223-1650/ CO: American Electric Power Company ST: Ohio IN: UTI SU:


LC -- CL012 -- 1281 04/22/92 12:25 EDT
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Date:Apr 22, 1992
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