Energy Conference Host Bashes Fellow Event Sponsor

It was either an incredibly bold or boneheaded move on Matthew Brakey's part.

Brakey is president of Brakey Energy Inc., an energy management services firm based in suburban Cleveland, Ohio. He's also chairman of Industrial Energy Users -- Ohio, which represents large Ohio industrial energy consumers.

Brakey opened the Ohio Energy Management conference in Columbus Tuesday with some choice words for Columbus-based American Electric Power.

AEP has been criticized by customers for a rate plan that took effect in January and resulted in significant rate increases for small businesses.

Brakey pointed out that Industrial Energy Users -- Ohio was one of the few organizations that vocally opposed AEP's rate increases when first proposed.

The problem: AEP Ohio was an event sponsor along with Brakey Energy. AEP President and CEO Nick Akins was also scheduled to speak as the lunch keynote.

Before Akins took the podium, Brakey apologized for his "inappropriate" comments about AEP. An AEP representative accepted the apology and introduced Akins.

An uncomfortable yet amusing moment, to say the least.

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