AEP Communications, Allegheny Communications Connect Announce Plan to Link West Virginia Fiber Optic Networks

COLUMBUS, Ohio, and HAGERSTOWN, Md., Aug. 10, 1998 -- AEP Communications LLC, a subsidiary of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), and Allegheny Communications Connect, Inc., an affiliate of Allegheny Energy, Inc. (NYSE: AYE) today announced plans to connect and jointly market their fiber optic networks to telecommunications companies serving customers in West Virginia. Through this interconnection, the companies will be providing high-speed, broadband communications services to telecommunications companies serving the West Virginia cities of Charleston, Huntington, Beckley, Bluefield, Parkersburg, Clarksburg and Morgantown. According to Dave Keller, AEP Communications director of carrier markets, the companies are on a "fast track" to complete the interconnection of the networks this fall. When the connection is complete, communications carriers serving West Virginia will be able to lease DS-1, DS-3 and higher-level SONET (Synchronous Optical Network) communications services. "By connecting our West Virginia networks, AEP Communications and Allegheny Communications Connect will help ensure the state has access to advanced technology for data, video and voice communications services," said Keller. "This plan benefits state residents who will be able to take advantage of market-based, high-speed communications capacity." John Flinko, Allegheny Communications Connect telecommunications marketing director, said, "Communications carriers serving West Virginia have identified a need to increase bandwidth capabilities in the state. This joint effort will help satisfy the growing bandwidth requirements of carriers such as MCI, Sprint, AT&T and Bell Atlantic. "Currently, Allegheny Communications Connect is seeking regulatory approval from the West Virginia Public Service Commission to finalize the plan." AEP Communications provides wholesale telecommunications capacity in Huntington, Charleston, Bluefield and Beckley, W. Va., as well as in cities in Kentucky, Ohio and Virginia. Through an interconnection with ValleyNet, AEP Communications also serves cities in Virginia and the Southeast. In West Virginia, Allegheny Communications Connect is constructing fiber optic networks to serve Parkersburg, Clarksburg and Morgantown. The company has also teamed with Hyperion Telecommunications to form a joint venture, Allegheny Hyperion Telecommunications, LLC, that will offer sophisticated telecommunications services in central Pennsylvania this fall. AEP Communications LLC, an exempt telecommunications company, was formed in 1997 to provide fiber, wireless and energy information services to wholesale and retail customers. The company has built high-speed fiber optic lines and wireless antenna structures, and has invested in digital personal communications service providers. 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. Allegheny Communications Connect, also an exempt telecommunications company, was created in 1996 to pursue opportunities in the deregulated telecommunications market with a focus on developing, designing and constructing fiber optic systems. It is an unregulated affiliate of Allegheny Energy, Inc. Allegheny Energy, Inc. is an investor-owned electric utility with headquarters in Hagerstown, Md. The company, with operating subsidiaries doing business as Allegheny Power, provides electric service to more than 1.4 million customers in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

For More Information, Contact: Deb Strohmaier Senior Media Representative American Electric Power 614/223-1656 Debra Beck Senior Writer Allegheny Energy, Inc. 301/790-6177

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