COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 6, 2012 – AEP Ohio, a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), notified the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) yesterday of its intention to file a modified Electric Security Plan (ESP) by the end of March. At that time, AEP Ohio will file modifications to its pending application filed January 2011 as allowed following the commission’s Feb. 23 revocation of its previous approval of the company’s stipulated agreement.
“AEP Ohio plans to file a modified ESP by March 30 and will propose leaving in place the current rate plan pending the outcome of the new ESP proposal,” said Joseph Hamrock, AEP Ohio president and chief operating officer.
AEP also would like swift resolution regarding the company’s ability to corporately separate and transfer its generation assets in Ohio.
“In order for us to transition to market as planned, we must corporately separate and transfer our generation assets,” said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP president and chief executive officer. “The commission’s denial of AEP Ohio’s corporate separation, which it had previously approved, has much broader implications for the state of Ohio. A reasonable transition to fair competition in an environment of regulatory certainty is critically important to attract jobs and investment to Ohio.”
AEP Ohio filed a motion for relief and a request for an expedited ruling on Feb. 27 with the PUCO to determine an interim capacity charge that competitive retail generation suppliers would pay AEP Ohio for use of its generation assets. In the filing, the company argued that providing all of its generating capacity to competing retail energy suppliers at a deeply discounted rate would have an immediate and significant adverse financial impact on AEP Ohio.
“The settlement agreement reached last year with various stakeholders and initially approved by the commission allowed AEP Ohio a reasonable transition to market over a period of time,” said Hamrock. “Today, we have filed additional information with the commission clearly indicating that the relief sought will not impede competition in our service territory.”
Although details of the new filing have yet to be finalized, the proposed ESP will address a range of issues including provisions for distribution service, alternative energy resource requirements, energy efficiency resource requirements and other matters. The primary focus of the filing will be retail pricing for AEP Ohio’s standard service offering designed to provide a fair and stable transition to a fully competitive framework that benefits all Ohioans.
“AEP Ohio has embraced the state’s decision to move to electricity competition,” said Hamrock. “We are prepared to move forward, but the transition must be reasonable and the investments already made for the benefit of our customers must be recognized. We also are committed to addressing rate design issues through a fair approach that considers the impact on all customers.”
In yesterday’s filing, AEP Ohio has requested that the commission conduct an expedited proceeding to consider the revised ESP proposal once filed. The company is asking the PUCO to adopt a procedural schedule that would provide a decision within 60 days so that new rates would become effective June 1, 2012.
“Given the delays we have experienced in these proceedings to date, it is only fair and in the interests of all parties to expeditiously resolve the terms of AEP Ohio’s new ESP,” said Hamrock. “Quick resolution of these issues will address the ongoing financial uncertainty for AEP Ohio and for AEP’s investors.”
AEP Ohio provides electricity to nearly 1.5 million customers of major AEP subsidiaries Ohio Power Company in Ohio and Wheeling Power Company in the northern panhandle of West Virginia. AEP Ohio is based in Gahanna, Ohio, and is a unit of American Electric Power. News and information about AEP Ohio can be found at aepohio.com.
American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, 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 megawatts 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-kilovolt 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 approximately 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 Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.