12/6/1999

AEP ENCOURAGES SAFE USE OF GENERATORS

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec. 6, 1999 -- Residents planning to use portable fuel-burning generators during the winter should carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions to guard against injury, according to American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP). Improper installation of a generator could damage the unit, cause a fire or electrocute residents, power company workers or emergency crews, said Robert Gifford, AEP’s manager - distribution engineering. “Some customers use portable generators if their power is interrupted by a winter storm or some other unforeseeable event. While AEP does not try to encourage or discourage our customers from installing a portable generator, we do want them to use the units properly and safely,” said Gifford. Portable generators may be installed in two ways. The most common and simplest method is to plug an appliance, tool or motor directly into the generator panel outlet. A less common and more complex method is the installation of a standby electrical system, which should only be done by a licensed electrician, Gifford said. If using the direct panel plug-in procedure, only use high-quality, well-insulated grounded cord sets rated at the same or higher voltage and current than the generator outlet being used. Check the generator circuit breaker rating and make sure the cord set is rated at the same amperes as the circuit breaker or higher. Do not use worn, bare, frayed or otherwise damaged electrical cord sets with the generator. Using defective cord sets is dangerous and may result in electrical shock or damage to equipment and property. Installation of a standby-by electrical system which connects the generator to a home’s circuits or wiring requires the expertise of a licensed electrician, so that AEP’s circuits are isolated from the generator’s circuits. If the circuits are not properly isolated, electricity from the generator can flow back to the power line and electrocute an AEP worker attempting to restore power. Improperly isolated circuits can also overheat the generator and cause an electrical fire inside the home. No matter which method is used, residents should review all manufacturer’s recommendations for safe use and maintenance of the system, Gifford said. Additional generator safety tips: -- Do not plug the generator into a wall outlet. -- Never handle any kind of electrical device while standing in water, while barefoot or while hands or feet are wet. -- Operate this equipment only in the open air where adequate ventilation is available. Generator exhaust gases contain deadly carbon monoxide gas. This dangerous gas, if breathed in sufficient concentrations, can cause unconsciousness or death. -- Never refuel the generator while it is running. -- Avoid contact with bare wires, terminals, etc. The generator supplies a very powerful voltage than can cause dangerous and possibly fatal electrical shock. Never permit any unqualified persons to operate or service the unit. -- Use of a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) provides additional protection and should always be used when required by code. -- If the generator is connected to the permanent wiring, a transfer switch must be used to safely transfer the customer’s source of electric power from AEP to the generator, thus preventing generator power from back feeding into AEP’s power lines. -- Consult a licensed electrician to make sure the National Electric Code and local electrical codes are followed in the installation and grounding of the generator. Further information on generators is available in a brochure prepared by AEP entitled, “A Word About Portable Electric Generators.” Customers may receive a copy by calling their local customer service office. AEP, a global energy company, is one of the United States' largest investor-owned utilities, providing energy to 3 million customers in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia 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: Jeri Waters Media Relations 614/223-1917

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