5/8/2000

AEP, RUFFED GROUSE SOCIETY
FORGE FOREST WILDLIFE PARTNERSHIP

CUMBERLAND, Ohio, May 8, 2000 -- American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) and the Ruffed Grouse Society today signed a partnership agreement to jointly enhance the environment for the ruffed grouse and other forest wildlife.

The parties agreed on a multi-faceted approach to their common goal, including efforts to identify, develop and implement research, management and educational projects for ruffed grouse and other wildlife on forest lands administered by AEP. The utility currently owns more than 200,000 acres of forest in seven midwestern states and placed these lands under formal forest management in 1978.

“For years AEP has worked toward the practice of sustainable forestry, and this includes an active program of forest wildlife management,” explained Gary Kaster, AEP’s forestry programs supervisor. “Partnerships, such as this new effort with the Ruffed Grouse Society, help us to achieve mutual goals in forest wildlife management.”

The agreement was signed during an Ohio Tree Farm Committee tour hosted by AEP, which features a series of tours and programs about forest wildlife management employed on AEP reclaimed surface mining land and woodland holdings. AEP was recently named 2000 Tree Farmer of the Year by the Ohio Tree Farm Committee. Dan Dessecker, Senior Wildlife Biologist for the Ruffed Grouse Society, was among the resource presenters for the program.

“The Ruffed Grouse Society traditionally works in the areas of research, education and habitat development, and our main conservation programs have influenced many thousands of acres of woodland wildlife habitat,” said Dessecker. “This opportunity to work with AEP extends our outreach significantly.”

The company’s reforestation programs have emphasized biodiversity, and the Ruffed Grouse Society partnership emphasizes habitat diversity by spacing small cuts throughout a woodland when harvesting timber. Over time, as subsequent small cuts are made, age diversity is created to provide different types of food and cover for wildlife.

The Ruffed Grouse partnership also includes AEP’s agreement to reclaim new or re-graded transmission line access roads by improving or establishing habitat and providing wildlife plantings. The company also will provide information about various Society programs to property owners who establish wildlife habitat on power line rights-of-way under terms of Wildlife Enhancement Agreements.

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:
Greg Soulsby
Ohio/West Virginia Region
Region Corporate Communications Mgr.
330/438-7911

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