Oliver G. "Rick" Richard III, former chairman, president and CEO of Columbia Energy Group, has been elected to the American Electric Power (AEP) board of directors.
Richard, 60, was chairman, president and CEO of Columbia Energy Group from 1995 to 2000. Previously, he served as chairman, president and chief executive officer of New Jersey Resources Corp., as president and CEO of Northern Natural Gas Co. LLC, and as vice president and general counsel of Tenngasco.
Richard served as a commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) from 1982 to 1985. Before joining FERC, he served as legislative assistant for energy issues to U.S. Sen. J. Bennett Johnston (D-La). Prior to that, he practiced tax law in Louisiana.
Currently, Richard is president of Empire of the Seed, a consulting firm in the energy, management, and private investments industries. He also serves as a director of Buckeye Partners L.P. and Cheniere Energy Partners GP LLC and as chairman of CleanFUEL USA.
Richard earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and a juris doctorate from Louisiana State University. He earned a master's degree of law in taxation from Georgetown University.
AEP is one of the largest electric utilities in the U.S., delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 MW of generating capacity in the U.S.
AEP also owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765-kV extra-high voltage transmission lines 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 about 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas.
AEP's utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Co. of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Co. (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP's headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.