COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec. 28, 2007
– American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) today announced that Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline LLC, AEP’s transmission joint venture with Allegheny Energy (NYSE: AYE), has filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to establish a transmission rate to recover costs for the approximately 290-mile, extra-high voltage transmission line that the companies propose to build from West Virginia into Maryland.
The companies are seeking a transmission cost-of-service formula rate, effective March 1, 2008, that will provide for annual updates to the amounts that PJM Interconnection (PJM), an independent regional transmission operator, will charge utilities to recover the costs of the project. The proposed rate includes recovery of a return on construction work in progress (CWIP) for the project and a return on equity of 14.3 percent, which includes an incentive award, consistent with federal policy to encourage significant transmission infrastructure and technology improvements. AEP and Allegheny each separately received FERC approval for incentive rate treatments for individually proposed transmission projects that ultimately became the joint Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH) project.
The PATH project includes approximately 244 miles of 765-kilovolt (kV) extra-high voltage transmission from AEP’s Amos substation near St. Albans, W.Va., to Allegheny’s Bedington substation, northeast of Martinsburg, W.Va. Another 46 miles of twin-circuit 500-kV transmission will be constructed from Bedington to a new substation to be built near Kemptown, southeast of Frederick, Md. The total project is estimated to cost approximately $1.8 billion. PJM identified June 2012 as the date by which the PATH project needs to be operational.
“The PATH project addresses significant reliability concerns in the region, including overloads that will occur on more than thirteen existing transmission lines in Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania, as soon as 2012 if PATH is not built,” said Michael G. Morris, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Establishing FERC rates for the project will provide the timely cost recovery necessary to obtain financing and allow us to move forward and bring the project on line in time to help prevent overloads on these lines.”
Once approved by FERC, the costs of the PATH project will be allocated to all electric utilities who serve retail customers in the PJM region.
AEP and Allegheny plan to begin work on the routing study and environmental assessment for the PATH project in January 2008. The companies anticipate seeking regulatory approvals for the project from the utility commissions in both West Virginia and Maryland in the fourth quarter of 2008, following the completion of the routing study. AEP and Allegheny are committed to working with landowners, neighboring residents, business owners, affected communities and regulators to minimize the environmental and land use impacts of the project.
“To ensure that this project is the best option for improving reliability in this region, we’ve designed PATH with advanced transmission technologies that will make it the most reliable, efficient and environmentally sensitive project possible,” Morris said. “Extra-high voltage transmission inherently costs less and requires less land to carry the same amount of power than other transmission designs. The six conductor-per-phase design of the Amos to Bedington 765-kV portion of PATH, a design pioneered by AEP on its Wyoming-Jacksons Ferry transmission project, will reduce line losses by more than 40 percent over older 765-kV designs. That means the line will transport more electricity and reduce the power generation necessary to meet electricity demand. Additional advancements in 765-kV and 500-kV conductor designs and new control technologies in the project’s substations also will enhance the reliability and efficiency of the PATH lines compared with other transmission lines.”
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 more than 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.---
This report made by AEP and its Registrant Subsidiaries contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Although AEP and each of its Registrant Subsidiaries believe that their expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, any such statements may be influenced by factors that could cause actual outcomes and results to be materially different from those projected. Among the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are: electric load and customer growth; weather conditions, including storms; available sources and costs of, and transportation for, fuels and the creditworthiness and performance of fuel suppliers and transporters; availability of generating capacity and the performance of AEP’s generating plants; AEP’s ability to recover regulatory assets and stranded costs in connection with deregulation; AEP’s ability to recover increases in fuel and other energy costs through regulated or competitive electric rates; AEP’s ability to build or acquire generating capacity (including AEP’s ability to obtain any necessary regulatory approvals and permits) when needed at acceptable prices and terms and to recover those costs through applicable rate cases or competitive rates; new legislation, litigation and government regulation including requirements for reduced emissions of sulfur, nitrogen, mercury, carbon, soot or particulate matter and other substances; new legislation, litigation and government regulation including requirements for reduced emissions of sulfur, nitrogen, mercury, carbon, soot or particulate matter and other substances; timing and resolution of pending and future rate cases, negotiations and other regulatory decisions (including rate or other recovery for new investments, transmission service and environmental compliance); resolution of litigation (including pending Clean Air Act enforcement actions and disputes arising from the bankruptcy of Enron Corp. and related matters); AEP’s ability to constrain operation and maintenance costs; the economic climate and growth in AEP’s service territory and changes in market demand and demographic patterns; inflationary and interest rate trends; AEP’s ability to develop and execute a strategy based on a view regarding prices of electricity, natural gas and other energy-related commodities; changes in the creditworthiness of the counterparties with whom AEP has contractual arrangements, including participants in the energy trading market; actions of rating agencies, including changes in the ratings of debt; volatility and changes in markets for electricity, natural gas and other energy-related commodities; changes in utility regulation, including the potential for new legislation in Ohio and membership in and integration into regional transmission organizations; accounting pronouncements periodically issued by accounting standard-setting bodies; the performance of AEP’s pension and other postretirement benefit plans; prices for power that AEP generates and sells at wholesale; changes in technology, particularly with respect to new, developing or alternative sources of generation; other risks and unforeseen events, including wars, the effects of terrorism (including increased security costs), embargoes and other catastrophic events.