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Nick Akins Talks Texas, EVs, Clean Energy in ‘Mad Money’ Segment

by on March 4, 2021

American Electric Power’s Chairman, President and CEO, Nick Akins, made one of his regular appearances on CNBC’s “Mad Money” Wednesday night and spoke about the recent outages in Texas, the recovering economy and investing in clean energy and infrastructure for electric vehicles.

Host Jim Cramer dove right into the crisis in Texas where a severe cold snap last month crippled the state’s power grid and left millions of people without power.

“You’re going to tell us the truth, Nick,” Cramer said, “what the heck happened in Texas?”

“I knew you were going to ask that,” Akins said. “Any time you have an extensive weather event like that you really test the system … we had generators that were out for a period of time, facilities were getting frozen. There was a lot of generation leaving the systems, so the operators had no ability other than to start shedding load and that is a bad outcome.

“Certainly our hearts go out to the people who were impacted by that.”

Cramer turned to the outlook on the U.S. economy, noting that AEP reported in its quarterly earnings that commercial and industrial load appears to be rebounding as the economy recovers.

“We are seeing the economy tick up,” Akins said. “We are seeing continual progress.”

Akins and Cramer talked about the transition to clean energy and investing in the resources that customers want. Cramer noted that retailer Abercrombie and Fitch recently signed a long-term deal to buy renewable power from AEP Energy.

“How do people get those kinds of deals?” Cramer asked.

“You are seeing more large customers come to the utilities,” Akins said. “They want different things. Some want renewables, some want micro grids, some want other alternatives, and we have to be responsive to that.

“We are seeing more of that occur with industrial and commercial customers and we have seen that time and time again across our territory.”

Wrapping up the segment, Cramer touched on electric vehicles and AEP’s focus on the growth of that sector.

“You do have to be all in on electric vehicles don’t you? To try to make that work?” Cramer said.

“Certainly electric vehicles are an example of the further electrification of the economy,” Akins said. “So as electric vehicles continue to come on, we have to make sure that there’s infrastructure to support it, not only in the grid but in charging stations.”

Akins mentioned the coalition AEP formed with five other utilities to support investment in a corridor of charging infrastructure for EVs across a huge swath of the South, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states.

“I thought that was really great,” Cramer said. “That makes a lot of sense.”

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