In recognition of innovative leadership and operational excellence in the electricity industry, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) has named Great Plains Energy and AES Latin America as winners of the Edison Award, the industry's highest honor.

Given annually by EEI, the award honors U.S. shareholder-owned utilities and international members for outstanding contributions to and advancement of the electric power industry. A committee of national industry trade publication editors and a panel of current and retired CEOs select the finalists and ultimate winners. This year's award, the 80th, was presented today in Denver at EEI's annual meetings.

"The Edison Award recognizes distinguished leadership, innovation and advancement of the industry in a manner that benefits all," said EEI President Thomas R. Kuhn. "These companies are unsurpassed in their dedication to meeting their customers' electricity needs and serving their communities. Their commitment to operational excellence and reliability and their innovation in generating and delivering electricity to wherever it's needed are equally exceptional.

"Their customers, communities and shareholders will reap the benefits of their excellent performance in these areas, as will the entire electricity industry," Kuhn said.

Following are descriptions of the award-winning efforts by Great Plains Energy and AES Latin America:

Great Plains Energy

Great Plains Energy subsidiary Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) established a Comprehensive Energy Plan to meet its region's growing demand for clean, affordable energy by developing new, clean energy sources, making proactive environmental and infrastructure improvements and creating innovative energy efficiency and demand-response programs. KCP&L has worked with a wide variety of stakeholders, establishing true partnerships within its communities to create political and regulatory environments that have allowed the company to deliver on its promises.

KCP&L has been an integral partner in planning for Kansas City's unprecedented growth that includes $4 billion in development already underway. Employing many internal planning teams that worked for several months, the company identified major strategic elements that would power the local renaissance, increase shareholder value and improve the total living environment to help secure the region's energy future.

At the same time, the company recognized the emerging concerns around carbon and other emissions. The resulting Strategic Intent introduced several innovative elements, including the "Distributed Utility of the Future" program, the "GPE Winning Culture" initiative and a slate of energy-efficiency efforts.

AES Latin America

AES Latin America developed a knowledge management process that enables the business to readily transfer proven operational techniques among its 48 generation plants and nine distribution companies to improve operational performance. This process helped the company set new records for plant availability and reliability and significantly improved AES's customer service and satisfaction throughout the region, including in some of its most remote and poor areas. This innovative program can be replicated across other regional groups at AES and promises to help improve the overall quality of life for thousands of people in Latin America and worldwide.

The region's exceptional operational results included an increase in the consolidated availability of its generation plants from 85 percent in 2005 to 89 percent in 2006, an increase in its net generation by 8 percent, a reduction in the duration and frequency of electrical outages by an average of 15 percent, a reduction in energy losses by 8 percent and improved overall customer satisfaction rates as measured by independent third parties.

AES Latin America's employees, at all levels of the business, were the driving force behind these improvements. They were empowered to find ways to improve the business by optimizing capital allocation, increasing work process efficiency, collecting and protecting revenues and mitigating high-impact operational risks. Once new ways to improve the business were identified, AES spread them throughout the region and company through a knowledge management process that allowed employees to continually build on their innovations and apply them throughout the region.

The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) is the association of U.S. shareholder-owned electric companies. Our members serve 95 percent of the ultimate customers in the shareholder-owned segment of the industry and represent approximately 70 percent of the U.S. electric power industry. We also have more than 65 International electric companies as Affiliate members, and more than 170 industry suppliers and related organizations as Associate members.