AEP Resources' Sweeney: Latin American Growth Increases Electricity Needs, Opportunities

HOUSTON, Sept. 14, 1998 -- The Latin American electric power industry is in the midst of an evolution. "Latin American countries are emerging from years of unstable economies," said Jim Sweeney, AEP Resources' vice president, Latin American development. "Strong economic plans have resulted in reduced inflation, stronger currencies and growth through economic development opportunities. The countries have also opened up their borders to more international participation. "This growth places new demands on the electricity infrastructure. Also, many countries are privatizing government-owned electricity systems to accommodate growth and benefit from open, competitive marketplaces as well as to reduce government debt." Sweeney made his comments while attending the 17th Congress of the World Energy Council in Houston, where AEP Resources is an exhibitor (booth 2301, George R. Brown Convention Center). Competition for electricity assets or projects has become global, with expected or ongoing changes in many countries attracting interest from companies around the world. "The global electricity industry has undergone dramatic change in recent years, an evolution that will continue in the foreseeable future," Sweeney explained. "Many factors drive this change, but the common element is the recognition of the need for reliable, inexpensive electricity to make a nation's industries and economy competitive in the global marketplace." AEP Resources, a subsidiary of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), pursues energy-related global investment opportunities and projects. AEP Resources owns 50 percent of Yorkshire Electricity Group, a regional electric company in the United Kingdom; 70 percent of a two-unit power plant nearing completion in central China; and 20 percent of Pacific Hydro, an Australian company that develops and operates hydroelectric facilities. AEP Resources is actively pursuing greenfield development projects or business and asset acquisition throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and the Asia/Pacific region. The company monitors global developments from its offices in Columbus, Ohio; London; Singapore; Toronto; Beijing; and Sydney, Australia. "Many countries, like the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, are moving from a highly regulated electricity market to a competitive market," Sweeney said. "Others, like Brazil and Mexico, have begun, or are considering, selling government-owned electricity assets to private entities. And developing nations like China are recognizing the need for additional electricity generation or transmission and distribution facilities to support development and economic growth." Latin America provides a microcosm of the global market. "We are seeing significant privatizations throughout the region, some at a very rapid pace," Sweeney said. "But Latin America also offers significant opportunities for greenfield projects because of the tremendous growth in energy demand. Brazil is one of the world's leading growth markets and other countries in the region are not far behind." AEP Resources' capabilities are a good fit with the needs of the Latin American electricity market, Sweeney said. "AEP, our parent company, has almost a century of success as a very efficient, low-cost provider of electricity," Sweeney said. "AEP built and operates some of the world's most efficient coal-fired power plants in the United States. It also built and operates a 22,000-mile transmission grid and a 105,000-mile distribution network to move electricity from the plants to customers. These historic strengths are assets when we participate in projects around the world." 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.

For More Information, Contact: Pat D. Hemlepp Manager, Media Relations American Electric Power 614/223-1620

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