COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov. 1, 2009 – American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) has set its ongoing earnings guidance range and capital expenditures budget for 2010. AEP will also form a transmission company as part of its strategy to pursue transmission investment opportunities in AEP’s traditional footprint.
AEP management will be discussing the company’s financial outlook and strategic direction during meetings with investors at the annual Edison Electric Institute Financial Conference that begins today in Hollywood, Fla.
AEP anticipates that 2010 ongoing earnings will be between $2.80 and $3.20 per share. Ongoing earnings guidance for 2009, which reflects last week’s upside adjustment, remains at $2.90 to $3.05 per share. Ongoing earnings represent earnings from continuing operations, which exclude special or one-time items included in the earnings prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
“Our earnings projections for 2010 are driven by new rate recovery activity underway in several jurisdictions across our service territories, an expected increase in off-system sales of electricity as that market improves after a weak year in 2009, and a general increase in retail load,” said Michael G. Morris, AEP’s chairman, president and chief executive officer.
AEP projects that capital expenditures for utility operations will decrease to $1.993 billion in 2010 from the estimated $2.466 billion in 2009, reflecting AEP’s conservative approach for near-term capital expenditures.
AEP will form a transmission company, or Transco, to pursue new transmission opportunities within the company’s existing 11-state footprint, a key component in a three-part national transmission strategy. AEP has existing and planned transmission projects in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) through its Electric Transmission Texas joint venture with MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company. AEP is also pursuing transmission projects outside its footprint and outside ERCOT through joint ventures with numerous other companies, including Electric Transmission America, AEP’s broader partnership with MidAmerican.
“The Transco will be our vehicle for much of AEP’s future on-system, wholly-owned transmission investment,” Morris said. “These investments will include a wide range of on-system transmission improvements, things like greenfield projects, station additions and system upgrades. Pursuing these activities in a Transco, with formula rates adjusted annually by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), benefits customers by enhancing AEP’s access to capital. This enables the company to undertake substantial new investment while relieving our operating company balance sheets of the burden of meeting those capital demands, thereby allowing them to put capital to work on distribution and generation needs.”
AEP expects to invest $118 million in Transco activities in 2010.
“We are seeking state utility status for the Transco in states where that designation is required, and we will join both PJM and Southwest Power Pool as a transmission owner,” Morris said. “We plan to file a FERC tariff for the Transco later this year, with rates effective in mid-2010.”
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.
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 necessary generating capacity and the performance of AEP’s generating plants, including AEP’s ability to restore Indiana Michigan Power’s Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant Unit 1 in a timely manner; 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 the John W. Turk Jr. Plant, and transmission line facilities (including the ability to obtain any necessary regulatory approvals and permits) when needed at acceptable prices and terms and to recover those costs (including the costs of projects that are canceled) 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 that could impact the continued operations of AEP’s plants; timing and resolution of pending and future rate cases, negotiations and other regulatory decisions (including rate or other recovery of new investments in generation, distribution and transmission service and environmental compliance); resolution of litigation (including the dispute with Bank of America); AEP’s ability to constrain operation and maintenance costs; the economic climate and growth or contraction in AEP’s service territory and changes in market demand and demographic patterns; inflationary or deflationary interest rate trends; volatility in the financial markets, particularly developments affecting the availability of capital on reasonable terms and developments impairing AEP’s ability to finance new capital projects and refinance existing debt at attractive rates; the availability and cost of funds to finance working capital and capital needs, particularly during periods when the time lag between incurring costs and recovery is long and the costs are material; 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, coal, nuclear fuel and other energy-related commodities; changes in utility regulation, including the implementation of the recently passed utility law in Ohio and the allocation of costs within regional transmission organizations, including PJM and SPP; accounting pronouncements periodically issued by accounting standard-setting bodies; the impact of volatility in the capital markets on the value of the investments held by AEP’s pension, other postretirement benefit plans and nuclear decommissioning trust and the impact on future funding requirements; prices and demand for power that AEP generates and sells at wholesale; changes in technology, particularly with respect to new, developing or alternative sources of generation; and other risks and unforeseen events, including wars, the effects of terrorism (including increased security costs), embargoes and other catastrophic events