AEP Sharing Data With Potential Power Plant Buyers, CEO Says

  • Information on power plant sale ``has been disseminated'': CEO
  • CEO declines to comment on Dynegy claim that it was excluded

American Electric Power Co. Inc., which hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. last year to advise on the possible sale of assets in the U.S. Midwest, opened up confidential data to potential buyers, a step that may indicate the company’s closer to a decision on the package of plants.

The Columbus, Ohio-based company has “done a lot of things with confidential data rooms” and believes there are buyers interested in the plants, capable of producing about 5,000 megawatts, Chief Executive Officer Nick Akins said in an interview at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York. Opening up so-called data rooms allows potential purchasers to review private financial information while agreeing not to disclose it.

Akins declined to comment on rival Dynegy Inc.’s claim that it wasn’t invited to make an offer on the plants in Ohio and Indiana. He said the company will take bids from those “we think are suitable.”

American Electric is among U.S. utilities looking to get rid of plants that compete in wholesale power markets in favor of running assets offering stable, regulated returns. Cheap natural gas flowing out of the nation’s shale formations has dragged down wholesale electricity prices, squeezing the profits of so-called merchant power generators. Akins said his company is looking to sell its unregulated plants as a package in its effort to “move to a regulated utility.”

2016 Decision

“We haven’t talked publicly about the process and where it is, but I can tell you a lot of information has been disseminated,” Akins said, adding that the company is expecting to make a decision on the plants this year.

Dynegy spokesman Micah Hirschfield said last week that the Houston-based power generator wasn’t invited to bid for American Electric’s assets. The utility excluded those who spoke against its move to secure guaranteed rates from state regulators for money-losing power plants in Ohio, Hirschfield said. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio approved the above-market rates last month.

“We will” take bids, Akins said, while declining to comment specifically on Dynegy’s statements. “We will take bids from ones we think are suitable for the assets.”

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