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American Electric Power (AEP) is investing in its core regulated businesses to improve service to customers and advance new energy technologies, according to Nicholas K. Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer.

Addressing shareholders at the company's annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio, Akins said, "AEP is positioned as a premier regulated energy company, with nearly all of our forecasted earnings coming from our regulated businesses.

"Our 17,600 employees are focused on providing innovative energy solutions to our customers, integrating new technologies and building a smarter, cleaner and more resilient energy system."

He continued: "We plan to invest $17.7 billion in capital over the next three years – including $12.8 billion in our transmission and distribution systems and $1.7 billion in renewable energy – as we work to develop the energy system of the future and meet the changing energy needs and expectations of our customers. These investments will continue to support our operating earnings growth rate of 5% to 7%."

AEP's forecasted $1.7 billion renewable energy investment between 2018 and 2020 does not include the company's 2,000MW Wind Catcher project, which will bring clean energy and lower bills for customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas if approved by regulators in these states.

AEP delivered a total shareholder return of 20. % in 2017 and increased its quarterly dividend by 5.1% to 62 cents per share. The company's transmission business contributed 72 cents per share to earnings in 2017, up 33% from 2016.