AEP's Central Ohio Coal Announces Plans to Reduce Work Force at Muskingum Mine

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CUMBERLAND, Ohio, Aug. 11, 1999 -- Central Ohio Coal Co. today announced plans to reduce the 232-member work force at its Muskingum mine by approximately one-half as a consequence of American Electric Power’s (NYSE: AEP) efforts to comply with Phase II of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. The reduction will take place in late October. The public announcement is part of the company’s compliance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), which requires companies with more than 100 employees to give at least 60 days advance notice of a mass layoff. A mass layoff is defined by the act to be a reduction of at least 33 percent of the workforce. The company will reduce approximately 100 positions, which will include those represented by the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) Local 1604, as well as non-represented, salaried positions. AEP and UMWA officials are working with the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services to help laid-off employees obtain retraining funds through a provision of the Clean Air Act. In addition, job retraining opportunities are available to UMWA-represented employees through a training and education fund provided for in the union contract. "The more stringent emission reductions required by the implementation of the next phase of the Clean Air Act will reduce our ability to continue using the high-sulfur coal produced at the Muskingum mine,” said Gary Dimmerling, the mine’s general manager. “This lower demand will, in turn, make the coal produced from our dragline operations uncompetitive with current market prices. These employment losses at Central Ohio Coal are largely related to AEP's efforts to meet federal emissions limits.” AEP’s decision to install flue gas scrubbers on its Gavin generating plant provided the company with emission allowances during the first phase of emission reductions. The allowances enabled AEP to continue using Muskingum’s high-sulfur coal at the company’s Muskingum River generating plant located in Beverly, Ohio. In Phase II however, the number of authorized allowances will be reduced. The cost of acquiring more allowances is placing additional competitive pressures on the cost of coal produced at the mine. In recent years, AEP had announced tentative plans to close the mine in October 1999. Under this reorganization plan, however, the mine will continue to produce some coal through April 2000. 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.
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For More Information, Contact: Vikki Michalski Corporate Communications - Lancaster American Electric Power 740/687-3026