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Akins discusses U.S. debt ceiling impasse, economy on Bloomberg TV

by on October 11, 2013
AEP CEO Nick Akins discusses business-government issues on Bloomberg Television’s ‘Street Smart’ program.

Nick Akins, AEP president and chief executive officer, discussed the U.S. debt ceiling impasse, the need for consistent policy decisions and the tenuous economy with Trish Regan and Adam Johnson on Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smart” program Oct. 8.

View the video program “Economy Is Tenuous, Need Clarity From DC: AEP CEO.” (3:55 minutes)

Akins also met with Bloomberg energy reporters and discussed a range of energy and business issues that are currently affecting the electric utility industry.

Concerning the debt ceiling impasse in Congress, Akins said, “For those of us who are very capital intensive and focused on debt, and the cost of debt, it’s absolutely unfathomable that we’re actually getting to this point. 

“And from an operational perspective, we’re seeing changes in the economy itself,” Akins continued. “The economy is very tenuous from our perspective, as industrial manufacturing is still on its back.” 

With a federal government shutdown in progress and Congress’ inability to forge any type of compromises on key issues, would you blame the U.S. government for the country’s current economic woes?

“I would to a certain extent,” Akins said. “Having that consistency of government and that consistency from a financial standpoint makes sense for us because we’re making investments every day, and we need to have that sense of clarity.

“We have to be concerned about our ability to acquire debt and the cost of that debt,” he continued. “This industry spends over $90 billion a year, and we have to be able to capitalize on a consistent basis.”

So what needs to happen in order for Washington to approach these important issues in a more business-like fashion?

“I think if both sides (Democrats and Republicans) are concerned about jobs, job creation and the economy, they need to think about the consistency of what they are doing,” Akins answered, “and when the foundation is in place for businesses to be able to make decisions on a continual basis — with some sense of certainty — that absolutely makes sense for us and it needs to be in place.”

Akins said the constant gyrations in government and the lack of any type of consistent policy “is not a good outcome” for the economy or for businesses that are trying to make important investment decisions well into the future.

“It’s absolutely critical that the two parties get together and make decisions that are consistent for this country going forward,” he concluded. “If they don’t, it will be a lag on the economy and the continued recovery.”

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