History of AEP
The American Gas and Electric Company was incorporated Dec. 20, 1906. The company was formed from a utility holding company, Electric Company of America, which was organized in 1899. The company acquired its first utility properties Jan. 2, 1907. These properties provided electric service, gas, water, steam, transit, or ice service in communities in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. The company became American Electric Power in 1958 and merged with Central and Southwest Corporation in 2000.
The Early Years: 1906-1921
In its earliest years, AEP – then known as American Gas and Electric Company (AG&E) - was an assortment of small, struggling utilities scattered across a number of states, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to Illinois.
Line crew, South Bend, Indiana, 1910
Over the years, many of these properties were sold. In fact, only five of the communities originally served by AG&E in 1907 – Marion and Muncie, Indiana; Canton and Bridgeport, Ohio; and Wheeling, West Virginia – are still part of AEP.
AEP's interconnected power system got its start in 1911, when power plants in Marion and Muncie were connected by a 33,000-volt line across some 30 miles of Indiana farmland so they could support each other and improve reliability.
The Windsor Plant, Wheeling, West Virginia
In 1917, AEP's first “super” power plant began operation on the Ohio River in Wheeling, West Virginia. Called the Windsor Plant, it was the first major steam plant built at a considerable distance from its principal load center – Canton, the largest city AG&E served in Ohio at the time. Canton needed electricity to power steel mills in support of World War I. Power was delivered to Canton customers over the nation's first long-distance 138,000-volt transmission line. Windsor Plant also was the first major power plant built at the mouth of a coal mine, eliminating the need to haul coal over long distances.
Expansion and realignment: 1922-1940
America was on the move in the 1920s, and electricity quickly became the engine that powered the journey. From 1922 to 1926, AG&E had one of the greatest expansion periods in the company's history with a number of major property acquisitions. It moved into Michigan in 1922 with the acquisition of Indiana and Michigan
The Philo Plant, Philo, Ohio
In 1923, AG&E began simultaneous construction of three, very large generating stations – the Twin Branch plant in northern Indiana, the Philo Plant in southeastern Ohio, and the Stanton plant in northeastern Pennsylvania. Each new plant represented a major advancement in power generation. Philo, for example, was the first plant in the world to reheat steam to do double duty in the process of generating electricity.
In 1924, AG&E purchased control of American Electric Power Company, a Philadelphia holding company with no relation to the present AEP. In 1925, AG&E bought Appalachian Power Company, and merged this entity with its other Virginia and southern West Virginia holdings in 1926 to form a new utility, which it called Appalachian Electric Power Company.
In 1928, the Federal Trade Commission launched a comprehensive inquiry into the entire electric power industry which led to the creation of the Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA) in 1935. Although
Ohio Power workers, Cambridge, Ohio, 1931
PUHCA resulted in the breakup of other holding companies – and the divestment of several of AG&E's holdings– AG&E's Central System, stretching from Virginia to Michigan, was left intact. In fact, the AG&E system was cited as a model of what an integrated system should be.
AG&E entered the Great Depression in relatively good financial health. Two weeks following the stock market crash in 1929, AG&E President George Tidd sent a letter of reassurance to shareholders. The company persevered and maintained its financial integrity through the period.
The Sporn years: 1941-1961
From 1941 to 1961, after a hiatus during World War II, AG&E engineers kept ahead of the ever-growing demand for electricity by building bigger, more efficient power plants and new transmission lines to link those plants and deliver power to customers. During the 20-year period, AG&E built 36 new generating units at 14 locations in five states – with a generating capacity totaling 6,000 megawatts. In one year, AG&E plants occupied the top five spots on the list of America's most efficient generating stations.
During this same period, AG&E also built 11 new generating units totaling more than 2 million kilowatts and a 390-mile, 345,000-volt transmission system for the Ohio Valley Electric Cooperative (OVEC), which had been formed to supply power to the federal government's uranium enrichment plant in Piketon, Ohio. The OVEC generating units came online in 1955 and 1956.
Much of the work during this era was led by Philip Sporn, who joined AG&E in 1920 and served as its President from 1947 until 1961. An industry leader with an international reputation, Sporn was AG&E's chief planner, designer, engineer, architect, financial officer, public relations man, and sales manager.
The company also continued to expand, acquiring Indiana Service Corporation of Fort Wayne in 1948.
In 1958, American Gas and Electric changed its name to American Electric Power, as the company had not provided gas service since the 1920s.
More growth: 1961-1975
From 1961 until 1975, AEP was led by Donald C. Cook, a Michigan native who had previously been the chairman of the federal Securities and Exchange Commission. AEP continued to grow during this period,
Cook Nuclear Plant, Bridgman, Michigan
adding 21 new generating units to bring total system generating capacity to 17,600 megawatts. By 1975, annual revenues had climbed to $1.6 billion.
In 1967, AEP announced that it would build its first nuclear generating station on the shores of Lake Michigan. The 1,020 megawatt Unit 1 of the Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant went into commercial operation in 1975. The 1,090 megawatt Unit 2 was completed in 1978.
End Of The 20th Century: 1976-2000
Construction of AEP Headquarters, Columbus, Ohio
W.S. “Pete” White, who served as AEP chairman from 1976 until 1991, presided over the acquisition of Columbus and Southern Ohio Electric Company in 1980. AEP agreed to move its corporate headquarters to Columbus, Ohio, as part of the acquisition and completed the move in 1983. The company headquarters remains at 1 Riverside Plaza in downtown Columbus.
Richard Disbrow succeeded White as chief executive officer of the company on Jan. 1, 1991, and became chairman when White retired at the end of that year.
E.R. Brooks (left) and E. Linn Draper
E. Linn Draper, Jr. became president of AEP in March 1992. Draper became chairman, president, and chief executive officer, when Disbrow retired in April 1993. .
In 1996, AEP's sales of electricity to retail customers topped 100 billion kilowatt hours for the first time in the company's history.
AEP merged with Central and South West Corp. based in Dallas, Texas, on June 15, 2000 and created one of the largest utilities in the nation, with combined revenues of $12.5 billion, electricity sales of 200 million megawatt hours, $35 billion in assets, and nearly 9 million customers across the globe.
Recent Years: 2001 – Present.
Michael G. Morris became chairman, president, and chief executive officer of AEP in 2004.
AEP's 100th anniversary logo
AEP celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2006.
AEP formally commissioned the world's first integrated carbon capture and storage project at a working power plant on Oct. 20, 2009. The project captured and placed in underground storage the carbon dioxide from a 20-megawatt slipstream of the exhaust gases from AEP's Mountaineer Plant in New Haven, West Virginia.
AEP celebrated 100 years of consecutive, quarterly dividends to shareholders in 2010. The company paid $18.5 billion in dividends to its shareholders over those 100 years. Only 23 other companies in America had paid dividends to shareholders consecutively for 100 years or more.
Nick Akins was named chief executive officer of AEP on Nov. 11, 2011. Mike Morris remained chairman of AEP's Board of Directors.
Southwestern Electric Power Company celebrated "A Century of Service" to customers, recognizing the company's 100-year anniversary on June 29.
The John W. Turk, Jr. Power Plant began commercial operation Dec. 20 in Fulton, Ark. The 600-megawatt coal-fueled generating facility is the nation's first and only ultra-supercritical coal plant.
AEP received Edison Electric Institute's (EEI’s) 2013 Edison Award – the electric power industry's most prestigious honor – for the company's completion and commercial operation of the John W. Turk, Jr. ultra-supercritical coal plant.
Nick Akins became Chairman, President & CEO of AEP on Jan. 1.
AEP debuted on Fortune magazine's 2014 World’s Most Admired Companies list in the electric and gas utilities sector.