2019 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
One of the largest electric utilities in the U.S.
Good opportunities for advancement.
Communication between management and workers is sometimes lacking.
Pay is low for some positions.
American Electric Power Company has plenty of jobs for potential employees and offers a solid benefits package and many work/life initiatives.
About American Electric Power Company, Inc.
American Electric Power (AEP) takes its slice of the US power pie out of Middle America with markets in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. The holding company is one of the largest power generators and distributors in the US. AEP owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a network of more than 40,000 miles. It also has 224,000 miles of distribution lines. Its electric utilities have 5.4 million customers in 11 states and have about 26,000 MW of largely coal-fired generating capacity, although it is adding renewable sources to its generation portfolio. AEP is a top wholesale energy company; it markets electricity in the US.
AEP operates through four operating segments:
Vertically Integrated Utilities (55% of revenue): Generation, transmission and distribution of electricity for sale to retail and wholesale customers through assets owned and operated by AEGCo, APCo, I&M, KGPCo, KPCo, PSO, SWEPCo, and WPCo.
Transmission and Distribution Utilities (more than 25%): Transmission and distribution of electricity for sale to retail and wholesale customers through assets owned and operated by OPCo, TCC, and TNC.
Generation & Marketing (less than 20%): Nonregulated generation in ERCOT and PJM and marketing, risk management, and retail activities in ERCOT, PJM and MISO.
AEP Transmission Holdco (less than 5%): Development, construction and operation of transmission facilities through investments in wholly-owned transmission only subsidiaries and transmission only joint ventures. These investments have regulatory-approved returns on equity.
Another segment, AEP River Operations, was sold for $491 million American Commercial Lines. The unit had commercial barging operations that transport liquids, coal, and dry bulk commodities on the Ohio, Illinois, and lower Mississippi Rivers.
AEP's electric utility operating companies provide generation, transmission, and distribution services to 5.4 million retail customers in Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Sales and Marketing
AEP sells power from its generation facilities into the spot market and other competitive power markets on a contractual basis. It also enters into contracts to purchase and sell electricity, natural gas, emission allowances, and coal as part of its power marketing and energy trading operations.
AEP has grown steadily in the past decade by some 20%, though some recent divestments have put a small dent in revenue. Net income has been less steady: after fluctuating constantly during the 2007-14 period, it hit a peak of $2 billion in 2015, before registering a decade-low of $610 million in 2016, an aberration due to asset sell-offs.
In 2017, AEP reported $15.4 billion in revenue, a drop of 6% coming entirely its Generation & Marketing segment, which sold off four plants early 2017.
In contrast, profits jumped up 210% to $1.9 billion, primarily due to the absence of almost $2.2 billion in impairment charges from the year prior.
Cash increased from $403 million to $413 million. Operating activities contributed $4.3 billion. The company used up some $605 million for financing activities and a further $3.7 billion in investment. Its CAPEX of $5.7 billion was an increase of almost a billion dollars from the year prior.
AEP has scaled back its unregulated non-retail operations in order to focus on its more fiscally reliable regulated businesses. The firm has also sold its independent power production operations and its European trading operations, but it continues to participate in wholesale energy transactions in regions of the US where it owns assets.
The company's business plan calls for extensive investment in capital improvements and additions, including the installation of environmental upgrades and retrofits, construction of additional transmission facilities, modernizing existing infrastructure as well as other initiatives.
In the 2016 third quarter AEP took a $2.3 billion write-down on merchant generation operations in Ohio. The company was concerned that its ability to recover costs would be restricted by legislation. The move also helped clean up its balance sheet.
To raise cash, in 2017 AEP sold four power plants to Lightstone Generation LLC (a joint venture of Blackstone and an affiliate of ArcLight Capital Partners) for $2.1 billion.
AEP has established joint ventures with other electric utility companies to develop, build, and own transmission assets that seek to improve reliability and market efficiency and provide transmission access to remote generation sources in North America. For instance, Transource Energy, LLC (Transource) is a joint venture between AEPTHC (86.5%) and Great Plains Energy (13.5%).
Although only a small percentage of its power generation comes from renewables (such as wind and hydro), the company is investing heavily in wind power to ramp up its clean energy sources in response to carbon reduction legislation in the states it serves. Its goal is to generate about $1 billion in revenue from renewable energy.
Seeking to run cleaner, more efficient power plants to comply with regulatory clean air and water standards, AEP has also earmarked $1.2 billion through 2020 for further upgrades of its coal-fired generating plants. (I&M has announced plans to build and operate five solar generation facilities, adding another emission-free source of power to its generation portfolio, which already includes nuclear, wind, and hydro).
1 RIVERSIDE PLZ
Columbus, OH 43215-2373
Phone: 1 (614) 716-1000
Employer Type: Publicly Owned
Stock Symbol: AEP
Stock Exchange: , NYSE
Chairman, President, and CEO: Nicholas K. Akins
Vice Chairman: Robert P. Powers
EVP and CFO: Brian X. Tierney
Employees (This Location): 8
Employees (All Locations): 17,582
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