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Utility Companies Make Statement for Importance in Economic Development

February 20, 2024

Across I&M’s footprint, our communities are growing. New businesses are moving into the region and existing businesses are seeking opportunities to expand. Reliable utilities are a must for expansion, but why would utility companies have a seat at the table before shovels hit the ground?

At Indiana Michigan Power (I&M), the Economic and Business Development team understands that the right tool for any job is essential – and utilities are no exception. The team works alongside local, regional and state organizations to understand the unique needs of businesses and how meeting those needs impacts local communities. This often starts with finding the right location.  

Utilities are a significant factor in assessing the physical readiness of a site. All businesses rely on basic utilities.  Evaluating criteria such as proximity to high voltage power, appropriate zoning and more is a critical first step to selecting an appropriate site.

“Because utility companies have intrinsic involvement within the community, their input is essential in the planning process for companies looking to relocate or expand operations,” said Ashely Savieo, director of Economic and Business Development for American Electric Power (AEP). “A project’s success adds to the work done to create a strong, diverse local economy, further benefiting where our customers live and work.”

One tool available to prospective industrial businesses is the AEP Quality Sites Program. Created by the AEP Economic and Business Development team, this program assists communities and developers of industrial properties to ensure all development risks are mitigated. Sites are vetted by a hand-picked team of industrial site selection and construction experts. Each Quality Site includes infrastructure in place or scheduled, environmental studies completed and energy solutions that I&M is prepared to deliver.

Organizations including Amazon, CANPACK, Sabert and more have helped bring in local business because of the Quality Site Program.

For more information on AEP’s economic development structure or available programs within the I&M area, visit our website or contact members of the Economic and Business Development team Ashley Savieo at 260-438-5426 (ansavieo@aep.com), Shelley Klug at 269-235-2006 (slklug@aep.com) or Nathan Powelson (nwpowelson@aep.com).


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