Nick Akins is chairman, president and chief executive officer of American Electric Power. He is AEP’s 11th chairman, 10th president, and sixth CEO in the company’s more than 100-year history. He is a member of AEP’s board of directors and is the only management representative on the board.
Akins rose through the ranks at both AEP and the former Central and South West Corp. (CSW), which merged with AEP in 2000. Akins began his career in 1982 as an electrical engineer before moving up to positions of increasing responsibility. Prior to being elected president of AEP in December 2010, he served as executive vice president - Generation from 2006 through 2010 with responsibility for all generation activities of AEP’s approximately 38,000 MW of generation resources. This included engineering, construction, power plant operations, fuels procurement, logistics, new generation and marketing and trading.
Akins is a seasoned energy executive with vast experience in all aspects of the business from system planning, operations, mergers, and acquisitions to running a regional utility and overseeing regulatory relationships. Akins was president and chief operating officer for Southwestern Electric Power Company, serving approximately 439,000 customers in Louisiana, Arkansas and northeast Texas. Named to the position in 2004, he had authority for distribution operations and a wide range of customer and regulatory relationships.
Prior to this, Akins served as vice president – Energy Marketing Services, where he was responsible for directing the activities of Market Development, including the transmission marketing and services functions, Energy Delivery External Affairs including community affairs, economic development, advocacy for regulatory and legislative positions within Energy Delivery. Additional responsibilities included the development and implementation of strategies for energy delivery related to AEP’s entry into regional transmission organizations.
Akins was also vice president – Industry Restructuring for AEP responsible for enterprise-wide program management for restructuring initiatives in preparation for customer choice in AEP’s various jurisdictions.
Before CSW’s merger with AEP, Akins held various director and manager roles with responsibility for mergers and acquisitions, industry restructuring, fuels, system dispatch operations and system planning.
A native of Louisiana, Akins received his bachelor’s degree in 1982 in electric engineering from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston and a master’s degree in electrical engineering in 1986 from Louisiana Tech. Additional training includes executive management programs at Louisiana State University, the University of Idaho and the Reactor Technology Course for Utility Executives at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a registered professional engineer in Texas.
Akins currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and is former chairman of Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Business Roundtable (BRT) and was appointed chair of the BRT's Energy and Environment Committee. Additionally, he is a member of the boards of the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership (GSEP), The Columbus Partnership, Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited (NEIL), Fifth Third Bancorp, OhioHealth and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
Akins and his wife, Donna, live in Dublin, Ohio. They have two adult sons.
AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile (63,000 km)-network that includes 765 kilovolt ultra-high voltage transmission lines, more than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP's transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the transmission system that covers much of Texas.
AEP's utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP's headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.