Some AEP Customers in Virginia Could Choose Generation Supplier in Pilot Program

ROANOKE, Va., Nov. 2, 1998 -- Some electric customers in Virginia will get a taste of competition -- a chance to pick their provider of electric generation -- under a proposal from American Electric Power that was filed today with the State Corporation Commission (SCC). This proposal, called the Customer Choice Pilot Program, will allow 2% of AEP's Virginia load to be served by an alternative energy supplier during a two-year test period. (AEP serves 457,000 customers in Virginia; the pilot could involve approximately 3,200 customers.) This supplier could be an energy marketer, broker or aggregator who contracts for power supply and sells the energy to customers. Additionally, participating customers may also use alternative providers for metering and billing services. All participating customers would continue to receive electricity over AEP's transmission and distribution system. "AEP supports competition and the opportunity for customers to choose from a variety of energy, metering and billing service providers, " said Dan Carson, AEP president for Virginia and Tennessee. "We believe a properly structured competitive market in the generation segment of the electric business will bring innovation, greater products and services and savings to customers." Electric utilities currently are granted franchises giving them the exclusive right to serve all customers in a specified geographic area. In return, electric rates and terms and conditions of service are set by regulatory commissions. In Virginia, it is the three-member SCC. "Our filing today and a similar filing by Virginia Power, the other major investor-owned electric utility in the state, could mark a new era for Virginians," Carson said. "As the SCC evaluates these submissions, some details might change, but we will offer choice to some of our customers, probably in 1999. It is our intent to conduct an extensive education campaign to inform and encourage customers, alternative energy suppliers and metering and billing service providers to participate in the pilot program. "Many customers are obviously interested in how the current cost of electricity will compare with prices in the pilot and in the future, in a mature competitive market. Because this is a limited pilot program, pricing will not look like what it would be in a fully open, competitive market. It's really a simulation of competition in which the internal systems, procedures and communications and rules and regulations among different energy providers needed for broader competition are tested and developed." AEP proposes that the program be open to customers in each of the major classes -- residential, commercial and industrial. Because participation is limited, it is proposed that interested customers volunteer to participate during an enrollment period. If demand exceeds space, participants would be chosen by lottery. The enrollment period will be preceded by an extensive education campaign that includes advertising, direct mail, toll-free information lines and public meetings. AEP s filing today complies with an SCC order last March that directed AEP and Virginia Power to submit pilot programs for review. That order is part of the SCC s ongoing inquiry into electric utility restructuring. AEP, a global energy company, is one of the United States’ largest investor-owned utilities, providing energy to 3 million customers in Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia. AEP has holdings in the United States, the United Kingdom, China and Australia. Wholly-owned subsidiaries provide power engineering, energy consulting and energy management services around the world. The company is based in Columbus, Ohio. On Dec. 22, 1997, AEP announced a definitive merger agreement for a tax-free, stock-for-stock transaction with Central and South West Corp., a public utility holding company based in Dallas.

For More Information, Contact: Tom S. Ayres Corporate Communications AEP Virginia 540/985-2602

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