5/18/2000

AEP UNDERGROUND MINES RANKED SAFEST IN NATION; SEVERAL OTHER AEP FACILITIES RECEIVE MSHA AWARDS

LANCASTER, Ohio, May 18, 2000 –- American Electric Power’s (NYSE: AEP) underground coal mining operations have been ranked the safest in the nation for 1999 by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). AEP mines were also top ranked in 1997, and for the five-year periods 1992-1996, 1993-1997 and 1994-1998. The company's mines are expected to be ranked first for the fourth consecutive time when MSHA releases its five-year-average ranking in the next few weeks. “We are extremely proud of this accomplishment,” said Charles A. Ebetino Jr., senior vice president - coal mines. “We have a strong tradition of safety excellence in our mining operations. That tradition is based on a culture of continuous improvement that has been solidly developed within our work force. I congratulate each of our employees for a job well done.” AEP operates three underground mines. Southern Ohio Coal Company's Meigs No. 2 and Meigs No. 31 mines are located near Wilkesville in southeastern Ohio, and Windsor Coal Company's Windsor mine is at West Liberty, W.Va., 10 miles north of Wheeling. Each year, MSHA ranks the intermediate injury and production rates for the nation’s largest 25 underground and surface coal companies. Rankings are based on 1999 incidence rates. The intermediate rate is calculated on groupings of lost-time accidents, fatalities and certain other types of permanent disabling injuries. AEP’s intermediate rate for 1999 was 0.76. MSHA’s second ranked company had an intermediate rate of 1.06. In terms of production, AEP’s underground mines are 14th largest among the companies MSHA ranked. Three Coal Operations Honored MSHA District 3, which serves Ohio, Maryland and northern West Virginia, honored three AEP coal operations with Pacesetter Awards May 13 at Pipestem State Park in West Virginia at the Annual West Virginia State Council Meeting of the Holmes Safety Association. MSHA presented the awards to coal mining facilities in 12 categories (according to number of employees) that exhibited the lowest lost-time accident incidence rate last year. The following award-winning AEP operations, categories and their lost-time accident incident rates versus the national industry averages include: Southern Ohio Coal Co. Meigs No. 2 mine (Wilkesville, Ohio), underground mines with 101 or more employees, 0.78 vs. 5.33; Central Ohio Coal Co. (Cumberland, Ohio), surface and auger mines with more than 26 employees, 0.00 vs. 2.03; and, Conesville Coal Preparation Plant (Conesville, Ohio), surface facilities with more than 26 employees, 0.00 vs. 2.98. Central Ohio Coal also has been nominated for the Sentinels of Safety Award for the mine’s zero lost-time accident incidence rate in 1999. The award is sponsored by MSHA and the National Mining Association. It is the second time Central Ohio Coal has been nominated for the award. While Central Ohio Coal has an excellent safety record, the mine does not meet production requirements to be considered for MSHA’s top 25 list for surface coal mines. 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: Jeff Rennie American Electric Power 740/687-3027

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