AEP Sustainability - Stakeholder Engagement

Engaging with Our Stakeholders

Listening to and engaging with diverse stakeholders is a priority for us. We rely on the voices of our employees, customers, investors, communities, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and policymakers to better inform our efforts and decision-making. Not only does it expand our knowledge and understanding, but also it helps mitigate risks and identify opportunities for collaboration. Building stronger relationships also enables us to identify meaningful outcomes through consensus or shared motivation.


Engagement through Decarbonization

Climate change, including decarbonization and our transition to a clean energy future, continues to be the primary issue of interest among the majority of our stakeholders. This complex and multi-dimensional issue touches almost every aspect of our business, which requires us to engage with diverse stakeholders whether virtually, through one-on-one engagement, through town hall meetings, or through formal regulatory processes. In 2021, we met with more than two dozen investors where we had the opportunity to discuss our path to a low-carbon energy future. We also continued our engagement with Climate Action 100+, including a virtual meeting between their team and AEP executive leaders.

As our transition to a clean energy future continues, we must consider the social and economic impacts our decarbonization strategy may have within the communities we serve. The decision to retire a coal plant has profound life-changing implications including loss of jobs at the plants and in the broader economy; loss of taxes that support public services, including education; and decreased economic activity that is supported by the plant’s ecosystem.

In 2021, AEP and our subsidiary Southwestern Electric Power Company partnered with the Just Transition Fund to plan for and mitigate the impacts of the planned retirement of the Pirkey Power Plant in East Texas. As a result, we formed the Pirkey Transition Task Force, composed of more than two dozen local leaders and community stakeholders, to develop an actionable plan to diversify the local economy. For six months, the Task Force met biweekly to share data, identify resources, raise concerns and questions, vet ideas, envision the future and work collaboratively toward an action plan. Read more about this effort in the Just Transition section.

The path to a low-carbon energy future requires investments across our service territory and within our local neighborhoods. Developing and siting infrastructure, such as transmission or renewable facilities, is a complex, technical process that involves balancing disturbance to human, cultural and natural resources with a community’s need for reliable electricity. At AEP, we’re dedicated to meaningful engagement with all customers and communities to ensure fair treatment and equitable decision-making.

In 2021, we developed an Environmental and Social Justice Policy that reinforces our commitment to consider environmental and social impacts when developing new infrastructure, transitioning our existing generation fleet, or deploying new programs, services and technologies. This includes listening, learning and seeking opportunities to partner with our stakeholders, especially low-wealth communities, communities of color and other historically marginalized communities, to incorporate environmental and social justice into our business strategy. We’re committed to providing all communities with the opportunity to understand our proposed policies and projects and discuss their concerns so that we can fully consider the environmental, social and health-related impacts of our decisions. Learn more in the Environmental and Social Justice section.

We are also actively involved in industry efforts through the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and Edison Electric Institute (EEI) that aim to convene a meaningful dialogue and develop resources, research and tools that support advancing equity and environmental justice.

Our team of specialists is focused on transmission right-of-way acquisition, siting and community outreach and is dedicated to avoiding or minimizing impacts to people and the environment to the greatest extent possible. In 2021, the Transmission Right-of-Way team logged 98,850 interactions with landowners and acquired nearly 4,100 easements, securing landowner agreements more than 99% of the time. The Project Outreach team also hosted a total of 46 virtual or in-person open houses. Open houses, whether traditional or virtual, serve as an excellent opportunity for landowners and members of the community to learn about the project need and benefits, timeline, right-of-way practices and construction process and to view interactive maps.


Innovative Partnerships

We collaborate with industry trade organizations, technology experts, developers, start-ups, universities and consortiums to influence policy, conduct research and co-develop technologies that are not currently available today. We are developing initiatives and forming partnerships in the U.S. and around the world to scout new technologies, validate them quickly, demonstrate their benefits to customers and policymakers, and secure timely regulatory support or contractual approvals for development and deployment. Partnerships include:

  • Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) – an independent, nonprofit energy research and development organization.
  • Edison Electric Institute (EEI) – an association that represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies, providing public policy leadership, strategic business intelligence, and essential conferences and forums.
  • American Clean Power (ACP) – support companies from across the clean power sector in their efforts to provide cost-effective solutions to the climate crisis while creating jobs, spurring massive investment in the U.S. economy, and driving high-tech innovation across the nation.
  • WIRES Group – a trade association that promotes investment in the North American electric transmission system through development and dissemination of information, strategic advocacy, and innovation in regulatory, policy making, industry, and education forums.
  • Free Electrons – a global energy accelerator with the mission to create the future of energy.
  • Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership (GSEP) – a CEO-led alliance of the world’s largest electricity companies committed to leading the transformation of the global electricity industry and the energy transition through accelerated clean energy electrification.
  • Various Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) – AEP directly works with the OEMs to learn about technologies that are commercially available today and what will be available in the near future, especially relating to low-carbon technologies.

Collaborating with stakeholders enables low-carbon, affordable, resilient and reliable electricity to be the lifeline of a modern decarbonized global economy and the backbone of digital and connected cities of the future. We are committed to actively engaging with our stakeholders and appreciate two-way conversations that provide value to us and them. Below is a list of the stakeholders with whom we engage most frequently, the topics of interest and how we engage.


AEP’s Stakeholder Engagement Efforts

Issues We Engage On How We Engage
Employees
  • COVID-19 policies, procedures, benefits
  • Diversity, equity & inclusion
  • Safety & health
  • Culture
  • Training & development
  • Work/life balance
  • Future of Work
  • Incentive compensation and goal setting
  • Financial and regulatory acumen
  • Industry Innovation
  • Continuously educate and communicate with employees on emerging issues such as COVID-19, racism
  • Seize the Moment: Let’s Keep the Momentum Going” diversity, equity and inclusion action plan
  • Safety & health and diversity stand ups
  • Employee webcasts
  • Employee Resource Groups
  • Annual employee culture survey
  • Culture action plans
  • Performance review process
  • Employee development & training
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Volunteerism/community engagement
  • Targeted development programs
  • Women’s Leadership Forum
  • Nick's Network
Customers (Residential, Commercial & Industrial)
  • Carbon emissions
  • Renewables
  • Electrification
  • Energy solutions
  • Energy management
  • Site selection/property searches
  • COVID-19
  • Fleet electric transportation
  • Supply chain resilience
  • Customer payment assistance
  • Small Business Assistance
  • Electric transportation
  • Public safety awareness
  • Advisory services for energy solutions & incentives
  • Site selection, screening, certification
  • Relocation & expansion support
  • EEI Customer Carbon & Energy Report
  • Hosting webinars
  • Newsletters
  • One-on-one outreach
  • Special team to support COVID-19 needs
  • Social media
  • Expanding digital channel engagement
  • Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) stakeholder process
  • Customer insight panels
Investors
  • Climate risk & governance
  • Decarbonization goals & plans
  • Just Transition
  • Diversity, equity & inclusion
  • Political engagement governance
  • Human capital management
  • Resilience
  • Cyber & physical security
  • Political engagement & lobbying activities
  • Supply chain resilience
  • Culture
  • Incentive compensation & goal setting
  • Earnings & financial metrics
  • Emails, phone calls, meetings and conferences
  • AEP’s Climate Impact Analysis Report (a TCFD Report)
  • +12 annual ESG investor-focused frameworks & surveys
  • Annual EEI ESG/Sustainability investor report
  • Ongoing engagement with institutional investors (28 ESG investor calls in 2021)
  • Lead Director conducts governance outreach annually
  • Ongoing engagement with ESG-focused investors
  • Climate Action 100+; average 2 meetings per year
  • ESG Data Center (250+ most material metrics)
  • Institutional investment advisor reports and direct investor input are considered in setting incentive compensation goals
Suppliers
  • Supply chain management
  • Environmental management
  • Human rights management
  • Supplier diversity
  • Supply chain resilience
  • Safety and health
  • Developed a new Supplier Code of Conduct and Supplier FAQs
  • Respond to sustainability-related supplier surveys
  • Member of EcoVadis
  • Supplier Diversity Program
  • Supplier education
Communities
  • Hunger & housing
  • STEM education
  • Diversity, equity & inclusion
  • Public safety
  • COVID-19
  • Economic development
  • Support States in new industry recruitment
  • Infrastructure siting
  • Coal unit retirements
  • Just Transition
  • Energy affordability
  • Corporate giving
  • Employee volunteerism
  • COVID-19 grants
  • Economic development grants
  • Economic development training programs
  • Community task forces
  • Credits Count STEM program
  • Social & Racial Justice Grants
  • Public safety education
  • Landowners, property owners
  • Townhall/community meetings
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
  • Clean energy transition
  • Asset retirements
  • Carbon emissions
  • Distributed energy resources
  • Renewables
  • Electrification
  • Electric transportation
  • Energy efficiency
  • Outreach via email, phone calls, meetings
  • Regulatory proceedings (stakeholder forums tied to IRPs)
Policymakers /Regulators
  • Clean energy transition
  • Affordable electricity
  • Reliable electricity
  • Environmental performance
  • Energy management
  • Electrification
  • Electric transportation
  • COVID-19 customer impacts
  • North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) compliance
  • Emergency response
  • Ratemaking
  • Education forums
  • Political engagement
  • Regulatory proceedings
  • Trade Associations
  • IRP stakeholder forums
  • Lobbying
  • EEI State Regulatory Affairs Executive Advisory Committee
  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  • Regional Transmission Organizations
  • American Clean Power
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce ESG Working Group
Third-Party Research Organizations
  • ESG
  • One-on-one conversations
  • Webinars
  • Roundtables
  • ESG Ratings Working Group
  • EEI ESG/Sustainability Steering Committee
  • ESG Data Center
  • Persistent email/data portal communication
Financial Community (banks, credit agencies, insurance, etc.)
  • ESG risks and opportunities
  • One-on-one conversations
  • Participate in webinars
  • ESG Data Center
  • Credit facility linked to ESG metrics