Take a look at the town of Cheshire, Ohio (what's left of it anyhow). When residents started complaining about health effects from AEP's coal-chomping Gavin electric power plant, AEP bought the town. Or bought them off, to be more precise, because a condition of the buy-out was that residents would sign a "health waiver" that prevents them from suing AEP for health problems that develop in the future as a result of AEP slowly poisoning them over the years. AEP, you da man!
Compare the residents of Cheshire with AEP's CEO in waiting:
"On a recent afternoon, the president of American Electric Power Company Inc. gestured around his spacious office high above downtown while talking about being in line for CEO when Mike Morris retires in November."
And ponder the concept of environmental justice.
Just in case you're thinking that $20M was a fair price for AEP to pay the residents of Cheshire, the fact is that AEP didn't pay it. You did. Every penny of AEP's money comes from you through your electric rates. When AEP has to buy out a town to manage a PR crisis, they just filter that expense down to their customers through subsidiary cost allocations.
If you think there is some agency or authority who is double-checking the expenses that AEP and other electric companies are adding to your cost of electricity, don't. Nobody is watching out for your interests. AEP and other corporations can and do add all sorts of outrageous charges to the cost of your electricity and their rate filings are not required to go through any audit or verification process. They can and do charge you for anything they want! Short of learning the complicated methods of how costs are recovered and auditing them yourself, there's not much you can do about it... except get yourself off the grid.
AEP, your greed is vile. What's your number?