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Akins Talks Renewables, Growth on ‘Mad Money’

by on October 30, 2019
Nick Akins discussed AEP's earnings, renewables strategy, and other topics on CNBC's 'Mad Money' Thursday night.

Nick Akins, chairman, president and chief executive officer of American Electric Power, appeared on CNBC's 'Mad Money' program Thursday night with host Jim Cramer.

Watch the video of the segment.

Akins is often a guest on Cramer's show and the two talked about AEP's third quarter earnings report, the growth of the company's stock price, renewable energy and a subject close to Akins' heart, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Cramer asked Akins if the rise in AEP's stock price, from around $72 a share in January to about $95 a share on Thursday was more about the company's large dividend or, "really good growth?"

“We feel like we are robust in terms of what the electric industry is providing," Akins said. “The investments we are making are real investments that customers find value in.”

Cramer turned the conversation to AEP's renewables portfolio and the projected future growth of those generation assets, noting that coal as a percentage of power generation is edging downward.

"I wish people knew about this," Cramer said. "People seem to think that because (President Donald Trump) favors coal, that we are going back to coal, but coal seems to be going out of style."

Utilities are rebalancing their portfolios, Akins said, as technology and transmission investments have made renewables, like wind and solar, much more competitive, especially when backed up by natural gas, which provides on-demand generation to account for the intermittent nature of renewables.

"We serve the south central part of the U.S., and Oklahoma, Texas, and even in the Midwest, you have regions that have really good wind resources," Akins said. "And the energy cost is practically free."

Lastly, Cramer asked, "Did you ever expect to be a growth company?"

“Our focus is primarily in providing growth in dividends on a consistent basis for our shareholders, and typically we are seen as a staid industry," Akins said, "but it's not that way anymore. It really is focused on technology deployment and really being able to reinvest in our grid to ensure that the American way of life can continue."

The two also briefly chatted about the nominations for the Class of 2020 for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, of which Akins is a member of the board and gets to cast a ballot. Cramer was astounded that the Doobie Brothers, who currently lead in the AEP Now employee poll of the nominated artists for Akins to vote on, were not already in the Hall.

"Finally, the Doobies!" Cramer said. "They were not in? What a crime."

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