Thursday, June 16, 2011

AEP chief Mike Morris speaketh with forked tongue

There's a fascinating piece in yesterday's National Journal Daily regarding the double-talk coming from Michael Morris, chairman and CEO of American Electric Power. You will recall that AEP recently tried to intimidate the White House by proclaiming that EPA air standards would prompt plant closures and layoffs. But National Journal notes that Morris had quite a different message for investors earlier this month.

This publication is available by subscription only (it's an excellent publication) so we won't run the full text, but here's a quick excerpt:

Power Company Contradicts Itself on EPA Rules

By Amy Harder
Wednesday, June 15, 2011

American Electric Power, one of the nation’s biggest coal utilities, downplayed the impact of EPA regulations to its investors while forecasting a doom-and-gloom outcome for Washington policymakers.

AEP has come under scrutiny after announcing on June 9 that it would have to close five of its coal-fired power plants and post a net loss of 600 jobs because of Clean Air Act regulations...

“Because of the unrealistic compliance timelines in the EPA proposals, we will have to prematurely shut down nearly 25 percent of our current coal-fueled generating capacity, cut hundreds of good power-plant jobs, and invest billions of dollars in capital to retire, retrofit, and replace coal-fueled power plants,” AEP chairman and CEO Mike Morris said in a statement last week...

A week earlier, Morris had sought to allay investors’ concerns about the plant closures and their effect on AEP’s bottom line at a June 1 investors conference.

“On balance, we think that is the appropriate way to go,” Morris said of the closures. “Not only to treat our customers, but also to treat our shareholders, near and long term, with that small amount of the fleet going off-line.”

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